Open Access Educational Resources Guide

A guide to material that can be freely used in your teaching.

Citation and Attribution for Images

  • The important thing to remember about Creative Commons Licences are 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 citations 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

This is an ideal attribution

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



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

This is a pretty good attribution

Photo by tvol / CC BY


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

This is an 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.

This is a 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


Title, Author, Source, and License are all noted
Modification? "Desaturated from original"