Attribution is the most basic part of an image credit, but a good many people who use stock images don’t know how to give credit. Today I want to look at the types of information you should include when you attribute work to another person.
Why Attribution is Important
Well first of all, it’s just the right thing to do. Even if a creator or site does not ask for credit (as Pixabay) it’s just more friendly to give the creator and the site a bit of a plug. This contributes to their positive reputation, and may prompt your readers to look for more work by the same author. Readers may also want to check out the web site, and see if it offers something useful to them!
The other really good reason to provide image attribution is to avoid being accused of plagiarism, and to help point your readers towards the licensing information for the image in question. This can help prevent a copyright infringement from happening. Doesn’t that make you feel good?
Elements of Attribution
The basic elements of attribution are explained in a Creative Commons best practices document on the subject. They are:
- The title of the work (if one is provided);
- The name of the author or person who created the work;
- The name of the site that hosts the work;
- A link to the page where the image and its copyright information can be found together
You can remember these four elements of attribution by using the mnemonic TASL:
Where to Link
Many bloggers and web writers make the mistake of clicking through “view image” from Google image search results, and will link to that page. Don’t do this! You never want to directly to the image itself. That makes it tough for your reader to find the copyright and licensing information if they need it. Instead, choose the “visit page” option to go to a page where the image will be displayed with its attribution and licensing information. (More on safe Google image searches to come. In the meantime, please be careful to select images that are marked for reuse!)
The same goes with a Pixabay search: don’t try to save an image from the search results page! You always want to click through to the page where your chosen photo or graphic is shown with its copyright information.
How to Write an Image Credit for Your Blog Post
Let’s go through the steps of creating an image credit that includes all the elements of attribution. The image above is a public domain Creative Commons Attribution icon. If you click the link you can go to the page where it is hosted, and follow along as I go through each step.
- The title of the image is not available. The file name includes, “Cc-by new,” which not everyone would understand. The image description says, “The new « Attribution » icon from Creative Commons.” This will suit our purposes nicely, or we could use an abridged version like, “Creative Commons Attribution icon.”
- The name of the author is found just a little below the description. It is Sting.
- The site that hosts the image is Wikimedia Commons.
- The link is, of course, found in the address bar at the top of the browser window: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cc-by_new.svg
Now I can write an image credit that includes all four elements of attribution! It looks like this:
“Creative Commons Attribution icon” by Sting, Wikimedia Commons (public domain)
Notice that I anchored the link to the image title, and I added the copyright information as well. This information came from the “Licensing” box, which states the icon in ineligible for copyright and is therefore in the public domain.
Now it’s your turn!
Can you follow the steps I’ve listed and create an image credit for your next post? If you need help, don’t be shy! I’m happy to walk you through the process if you’re not getting it.