You must include citations for all texts and images you consult, use, quote, or refer to. Do not assume that anything is “common knowledge.” If you didn’t know something before you started writing, cite the source you consulted to find out. If you knew something and consulted a source to verify what you knew, cite that source. If you learned something in another class, cite that class. Citing sources enhances your credibility or “ethos” because it shows that you have researched your topic thoroughly.
— Shit Academics Say (@AcademicsSay) December 19, 2016
In this course we will follow MLA Style, but in other courses and disciplines, you may have to adapt to other citation styles. Go to the library to consult the most recent edition of The MLA Style Manual. Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) includes an MLA Formatting and Style Guide—an excellent, searchable resource for figuring how to cite different types of print and digital texts, including films, paintings, videos, lectures, conversations, etc.
The handout, “MLA Style Synopsis,” both describes and models MLA Style for print media (scroll to the bottom of this page or find it in DropBox). You will need to adapt MLA Style to digital environments. See the OWL at Purdue for instructions for citing online sources. Do not email your professor asking how to cite a source: we have to look it up, and so can you.
The important thing, whether working in print or digital form, is to identify all sources quoted, paraphrased, or consulted, and provide a link or citation that will guide your reader to the original source.
If you have compiled background information from a variety of sources (especially tertiary sources such as encyclopedias and dictionaries), instead of citing every sentence with a parenthetical, you can insert an explanatory footnote saying: “The information in this paragraph/on [this topic] was gathered from the following sources…”).
Finding & Citing Images
Do not pepper your posts with “eye candy”—images selected merely to attract attention. All images should be relevant to your argument and appropriately sized, positioned, and contextualized. Always insert “alt text“ describing the image for users with visual impairments, provide captions when necessary, and cite the image in your Works Cited(see the OWL at Purdue for instructions on citing images and other common sources, such as interviews, lectures, TV shows, films, songs, podcasts, etc.).
Search Creative Commons for public domain images that you can use and adapt for non commercial purposes. While the images are free to use you still need to adhere to any citations requested by the owner or creator of the image. Do not just steal images from a Google search because you may be violating copyright, endangering yourself, me, and Davidson College.
If I’ve found an image or video online that I want to use on a website and it’s not in the public domain or licensed through Creative Commons, I will cite the image according to MLA Style and take the extra step to edit the image in my post and insert a custom URL linking the image to the site where I found it. That way, if someone clicks on the image in my post, they’ll be taken directly to the source of the image. You can also create an i-frame for the image, which makes it appear as if it’s in your post, but you haven’t taken it out of its original location.
You can embed a video from YouTube or Vimeo by clicking on share and copying and pasting the URL directly into your post. You can also select the exact place you want to the video to start playing. If you want more control over the layout of the video in your post, select the option to “embed,” which appears under share and paste the code into the “Text” view of your post. Introduce the video with framing text that entices your reader into watching it, and follow up with analysis explaining the significance of the video and its relevance to your argument.
@AcademicsSay. “If you liked it then you should have put a citation on it.” Twitter, 19 December 2016, 8:54 a.m., twitter.com/tombrokaw/status/160996868971704320.