Documentation, part 1:
Finding good images and documenting them

There are a number of good reasons to use images in your term paper--especially to make it clear to your reader what you're talking about. You should plan on inserting the images into the text of your paper in a way that will be the most helpful to your reader. Then, of course, you must say where the images came from.

  • Finding good images is increasingly simple. A good place to start is the image source page of this website.

  • There is no universally accepted format for captions of images. Choose a format, and use it consistently throughout your paper. For example, you could put your source within the caption of an image, or you could put it in a footnote or end note.

  • Documenting images. The Library at Dickenson College, Carlisle PA has a helpful online guide for image documentation.

  • Be sure to keep a careful record of the sources of the images you decide to use in your paper. Even though your image documentation may read: "Image source: Metropolitan Museum of Art," it's wise to keep a note of the specific URL of the image on the Metropolitan Museum's website, as this will save time later. You'll find this task much easier if you follow one of these methods: a) put a thumbnail image and a URL and link in a section of your records on Microsoft OneNote, or b) If you are familiar with PhotoShop, put this information in the File Info field of each image. (Choose File on the navigation bar near the top of the PhotoShop screen, and then in the drop down menu choose File Info, and proceed from there.)

  • Check with your professor to confirm, but it will probably be fine to use the names of well-known image sources, such as those listed in the image source page of this website. The links lead either to the log-in page (ArtStor) or directly to the "collections" pages where you may search for and download images for personal and scholarly use. Remember that for any use other than the "fair use" of images, such as using them in an unpublished term paper or in a classroom presentation (NOT posted a publicly accessible website) you will need to check the Terms of use for each site. For less well-known online sources--ones you might encounter through a Google image search--include the URL and the date you accessed the image.

  • For images scanned from a book, Check with your professor to confirm, but it will probably be fine to use full documentation, as you would in a footnote.

  • Bibliography: Include in your Bibliography a section called "Image Sources," and present a simple list of your sources, with URLs for the main page (or main "collections" page) of such sites as ArtStor, etc. Include citations for books from which you scanned images.

  • If you write a paper that is accepted for publication, you'll need a detailed acknowledgement of sources, and also will need to arrange for licensing and the payment of any fees. So be sure to keep a careful record of your image sources.

© Jan Mainzer