Skip to Main Content

Using Images

Using MLA format to document sources of photographs

Using Images

When you use images in your work, you will want to think about how to cite them, how to find them, how to give proper attribution. etc. Many databases (like ArtStor, below) will provide you with information about the image). This can include its title, where it originally appeared, the creator, etc. Images can make your work more engaging and interesting, but you need to be aware of.

Use the tabs on the left to explore various aspects of using images.

Terms & Definitions


  • legal rights granted to creators

Fair Use

  • the use of copyrighted materials for a limited or transformative purpose (Stanford Libraries)
  • places limits on copyright rights
  • if a use falls under "fair use", the copyright holder does not have to be contacted for permission or compensated for the item's use
  • fair use determinations consult these four factors and involve interpretation (Columbia University Libraries)


  • ascribing a work to a particular person or organization


  • permits or authorizes use under certain conditions

Public Domain

Creative Commons Licenses

  • six standard licenses, based on four conditions, used by creators to grant copyright permission for their creative work
  • all six licenses require that creators be credited for their work

Duck Shooting (JSTOR)

(Click this link to view a larger version of this image)

Image showing Duck Shooting painting by Henry Thomas Alken, with additional metadata from JSTOR.

Example of an image of a painting from the JSTOR database. Notice the metadata (information about the image) listed next to the image itself.