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Visual Literacy: Attribution

This guide will help you to find, read, cite, edit and present images.

What elements should I include when attributing?

Attribute an image or visual media source for presentations, papers, etc. that do not require a specific publication style.

Include the following elements in your attribution:

  • Title of the work
  • Creator of the work
  • Creative Commons type of license, if applicable
  • Hyperlink to website from which the work was retrieved

Include the following elements if you have them:

  • Year(s) when it was composed/completed
  • Materials involved in creating the work
  • Institution that houses the work
  • Date the work was retrieved

How to attribute images to their creators

How to attribute images to their creators

There is a tool to help you create attributions.

  1. Go to and click on Open Attribution Builder at the top right of the screen.

  1. Locate the title, author, and license information of the image you are going to use and enter the relevant information into the Builder. The Builder will generate the attribution for you.


An attribution is a less formal way to identify and acknowledge an image. Simpler. It is often used for presentations or papers or other formats that do not require a formal citation style.

A Few Examples...

Found on Wikimedia Commons

Study falling rain by Mariokleff (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Found on Google Images

Biting Apple (food). Retrieved 5.12.12:

Found on Flickr Images

Funny Signs or Pictures by DrJohnBullas, 2010 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


Be consistent with how you attribute!

Include the Creative Commons license of the image and a link to the Creative Commons license page.