Open Educational Resources (OER): Instructor Guide

Citation and Attribution for Images

  • The important thing to remember about using Creative Commons Licenced materials is that you do need to attribute the creator.

  • Attribution is similar to citation. In attribution you need to mention the author, the source, link to the image and cite the kind of Creative Commons licence the material was released under.

  • Academic citation styles should also be used in addition to attribution for academic and assignment projects, when defined as part of course requirements. 

  • To help you with making Creative Commons attribution, there is a handy tool called the Open Attribution Builder: 

Attribution Tips

Here is a photo. Following it are some examples of how people might attribute it.

8256206923 c77e85319e n.jpg

Ideal attribution

"Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco" by tvol is licensed under CC BY 2.0


It is ideal because it indicates:

Title: "Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco"
Author: "tvol" - linked to his profile page
Source: "Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco" - with a link to the  original Flickr page
License: "CC BY 2.0" - with a link to the license deed

Pretty good attribution

Photo by tvol / CC BY

This is pretty good because:

Title: Title is not noted (it should be) but at least the source is linked.
Author: "tvol"
Source: "Photo" - linked to original Flickr page
License: "CC BY" - linked to license deed

Incorrect attribution

Photo: Creative Commons


Title: Title is not noted.
Author:  Creative Commons is not the author of this photo.
Source: No link to original photo.
License: There is no mention of the license, much less a link to the license. "Creative Commons" is an organization.

Good attribution for material you modified slightly

8256206923 c77e85319e n desaturated.jpg
"Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco" by tvol, used under CC BY / Desaturated from original

If you modify a CC licensed work, you must indicate how it has been modified.

Good because:

Title, Author, Source, and License are all noted
Type of modification is indicated: "Desaturated from original"