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MLA Style (8th edition)

Formatting citations using the MLA 8th style. Based on the MLA Handbook, 8th edition.

Why Do We Cite Figures?

We use images every day in all kinds of ways and the Internet, social media and smart devices make it super easy to share them. When using figures that you have not created in your work, it's important to label them and cite them, not only to avoid plagiarism and fulfill academic integrity, but also to allow your reader to easily find the item referenced within your work or from its original source.

Examples of Figures

  • Images (snapshots, paintings, memes, etc)
  • Bar graphs
  • Frequency histograms
  • Scatterplots
  • Drawings
  • Maps
  • Tables
  • Screenshots

Determining Ownership

Clarifying how and what illustrations and images you can use for your class work, senior thesis, or first publication can be a challenging process. It can often seem like a moving target, as laws and policies can differ by intended use, by country, or by type of ownership. 

Before using any image in an academic publication, you must determine its source and any use restrictions in place. Whether an image falls under copyright restriction or not, you must credit the source. If you are unsure about you can always ask your subject librarian, or your professor who can help you one-on-one.

The best option is to create or use an illustration/image that you create and therefore would own the copyright to yourself.

Guide to Citing Figures

Citing Figures Infographic