First, we’ll talk about blog posts, and why citing sources and crediting images is important.
When we first begin blogging, finding great images seems like no big deal. You google what you want, see what images pop up, right click, copy, and use them, right?
Don’t do it.
You can get into NO END of trouble that way, as is made clear in this article, The $7,500 Blogging Mistake That Every Blogger Needs to Avoid!
I use Wikimedia Commons and Public Domain images. Wikimedia makes it easy for you to get the attributions and licensing for each image. An excellent article on using Creative Commons Images can be found here:
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. Make sure you credit the artist!
Sometimes I need images I can only get by paying a small fee for.
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 to do is copy and paste it to your footnotes.
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.
We may want to quote another blogger or use the information we have learned from them. However, you will notice that I generally only quote directly from Wikipedia in those posts.
There is a reason, and we will get to that later.
If there is research involved, you should make notes at the bottom of your composition document about the title and URL of the website/article, the author, and what day you accessed it.
Properly citing your sources is your legal obligation, but there is a moral one here too: if some blogger quoted you verbatim, wouldn’t you want to be credited?
Some people will say that blogging isn’t really writing, so WHY bother with footnotes?
First of all, if blogging isn’t writing, what is it?
The footnotes at the bottom of every post tell me where my images are sourced, who created them, and what I used them in.
In my Fine Art Friday posts on art history, I do as wide as search as possible for information on a particular artist and painting. I only use images available from Wikimedia Commons with the share-alike copyright.
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.
Composing the body of my post in a document rather than the content area of the blog-template allows me to spellcheck and edit my work before it is posted. Even so, I miss some typos and errors. The truth is, I feel more comfortable writing in a document rather than the content-window.
At the bottom of the page, I list what website I quoted, who the author was, the date of publication, and the date I accessed it. I have found the simplest method is the Chicago Manual of Style method, which looks like this:
Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab, General Model for Citing Books in the Chicago Notes and Bibliography System, Copyright ©1995-2017 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved.
Website: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/03 Accessed Jan 10, 2017
When you quote from Wikipedia, you can 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 needs. 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:
Follow their guidelines to obtain the right to quote from a published book. This is NOT a simple process, but you must do it if you plan to quote anyone whose work is NOT in the Public Domain.
Chances are, you will be denied, so be prepared to do without that material.
That is why I quote from Wikipedia when it is applicable and when the copyright is Share-Alike.
Plagiarism and quoting are two different things. Plagiarism is lifting entire sections and publishing it as yours. For more on last year’s scandal in the world of “fast-track” publishing, read this article at the Fussy Librarian. Romance authors discover they’ve been plagiarized.
About the share-alike copyright, via Wikipedia:
Share-alike is a copyright licensing term, originally used by the Creative Commons project, to describe works or licences that require copies or adaptations of the work to be released under the same or similar licence as the original. Copyleft licences are free content or free software licences with a share-alike condition.
Two currently-supported Creative Commons licences have the ShareAlike condition: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (a copyleft, free content licence) and Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (a proprietary licence).
To wind this rant up – bloggers, photographers and artists are just like those who write novels. They are proud of their work and want to be credited for it. Protect yourself and your work by responsibly sourcing images and giving credit to the authors and artists whose work you use.
Credits and Attributions
Wikipedia contributors, “Share-alike,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Share-alike&oldid=929200583 (accessed January 7, 2020).
Share alike icon, Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Cc-sa.svg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Cc-sa.svg&oldid=362413897 (accessed January 7, 2020).
Portions of this article and the screenshots first appeared on the Northwest Independent Writers’ Association Blog in January of 2017, written by Connie J. Jasperson, © 2017 All Rights Reserved.