It has been a while since we talked about the importance of citing and attributing sources for images and quotes, so this a good topic for today.
I write posts on writing craft for several blogs, amounting to five short articles a week. The way I handle my blogging commitments is this:
So WHY did I mention making footnotes? Isn’t that just for academic stuff?
Not at all—we must give credit where credit is due. It’s your legal obligation, but there is a moral one here too: if you wrote something good and someone quoted you verbatim, wouldn’t you want to be credited?
First let’s talk images:
When we first begin blogging, sourcing images seems like no big deal. You google what you want, see what images pop up, right click, copy, and use them, right?
Wrong! Don’t do it!
You can get into terrible financial trouble and lose your credibility. A friend recently pointed a telling blogpost out, and it bears being referenced here again: The $7,500 Blogging Mistake That Every Blogger Needs to Avoid!
So, now that we are clear as to our legal responsibility, what does the cash-strapped author do?
An excellent article on using Creative Commons Images can be found here:
I use Wikimedia Commons and Public Domain images. Wikimedia makes it easy for you to get the attributions and licensing for each image. Another good source is Allthefreestock.com, where you can find hundreds of free stock photos, music, and many other things for your blog and other projects.
Sometimes I need images I can only get by purchasing the rights, and for those, I go to Dreamstime or Canstock, and several other reputable sources. For a few dollars, usually only two or three, I then have the right to use the image of my choice, and it’s properly licensed. The proper legal attribution is also there on the seller’s website, clearly written out with the copyright and artist name, so all you need do is copy and paste it to your footnotes.
I keep a log of where my images are sourced, who created them, and what I used them in. I also insert the attribution into the image details on my website so that when a mouse hovers over the image, curious readers can go to the source. (In WordPress, you must be on the WP Admin dashboard. Click on the image and go to ‘edit details’). If you can do this, you won’t have to credit them in your footnotes.
That is all well and fine for images, but what about quoting an article or other literary work? Sometimes we want to quote another blogger or use the information we have learned from them.
Plagiarism is an ugly word, and you never want to be accused of it. To that end, we cite our sources—but there is a caveat here:
Citing sources for a blogpost or short essay:
First, I open a document in my word-processing program (I use Word), save it as whatever the title of the post is in that blog’s file folder, and compose my post the way I would write a story.
Simple attributions/citations will look like this:
Wikipedia contributors, "Gallows humor," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gallows_humor&oldid=759474185 (accessed January 30, 2017).
When you quote from Wikipedia, citation is simple. All you do is click on the ‘cite this page’ link in the left-hand column, which is a menu of items pertaining to Wikipedia in general and to that article. ‘Cite this page’ is listed under ‘tools.’ Clicking on this link takes you to a page offering citations for that page in CMoS, APA, or MLA style, whichever suits your need. All you need to do is copy and paste the one you prefer into your footnotes, and your due diligence has been done.
All this information for your footnotes should be inserted at the BOTTOM of your current document, so everything you need for your blog post is all in one place. When my blog article is complete and ready to post, I will insert a line to separate the body of the post from the credits and attribution notes.
When readers view my blog, if my post were one that I did research for, they would see this at the bottom of the post:
Authors need to blog about who they are and what they do because they can connect with potential readers that way. Using pictures and quoting good sources makes blogs more interesting and informative.
Photographers and artists are just like writers—they are proud of their work and want to be credited for it. Protect yourself and your work by responsibly sourcing your images, giving credit to the authors and artists whose work you use.
CREDITS and Attributions
Portions of this article first appeared here on the Northwest Independent Writers’ Association Blog in January of 2017, written by Connie J. Jasperson, © 2017.
Connie J. Jasperson is an author and blogger and can be found blogging regularly at Life in the Realm of Fantasy.