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Citing Sources: Digital Images


A license is a document that specifies what can and cannot be done with a work. It grants permissions and states restrictions. Broadly speaking, an open license is one that grants permission to access, re-use and redistribute a work with few or no restrictions (definition from There are many open licenses developed for different areas of knowledge. However, when it comes to open educational resources the most typical and common open licenses used are Creative Commons Licenses.

Open Washington by SBCTC Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges licensed under CC BY 4.0


  • Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.
  • Provides a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work  -- on conditions of your choice
  • Free, easy-to-use copyright licenses and tools
  • Six license conditions available. Choose a license
  • Looking for music, video, writing, images, code, or other creative works?  Search Creative Commons and find CC-licensed works.


Open Resources are digital materials, such as images, videos, audio, or ebooks which have been licensed for free use.  The resource is cited in your works cited page, and you also need to provide correct attribution with the object.

The Format and Elements of Attribution are:  Title  by  Author  licensed under  CC BY

  • Title of content item.  Link to the source URL.  This source is found in Google Images open license.
  • Author's name; and/or Organization or Project information if applicable, Link to a URL of further author information if available.  This example links to the photographer's Flickr page.
  • Creative Commons Licensing information.  This is found with the content item.  Link to the matching Creative Commons license explanation page.  You can search to find this, use the license (for example - CC BY) to search


Skagit Valley Tulip Festival 2008  by  Pallavi Damera  licensed under  CC BY


All Content CC-BY.