Citing Google Images in MLA

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Published September 2, 2020. Updated October 4, 2021.

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Citing an Image

To cite an image found through Google using the image-search function, you must identify the website where the image was posted. Then, cite the image like you would if you found it through the original website where it was posted. If the image has no official title, create a short description of your own.

Image Citation Template (MLA 9):

Artist Last Name, First name (if available). “Title of image” or your own description of the image. Title of the website where it was originally published,* date it was published (if available), URL.

*Note: Make sure you use the name of the website where the image is posted, not just Google.

Image Citation Example (MLA 9):

Elephant next to a car. The London Telegraph, 13 May 2008, www.telegraph.co.uk/jkhfds/image.

For in-text citations, use either the artist’s last name in parentheses or the image’s title or description. The title/description should be shortened to the first noun phrase in parenthetical citations. The parenthetical citation should always match the first item in the full reference on your Works Cited page.

Image In-text Citation Template (MLA 9):

(Artist Last Name)

(Shortened Image Title)

(Shortened Image Description)

Image In-text Citation Example (MLA 9):

(Elephant)


 

 

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How do I cite an image?

You will need the name of the image creator, the image title or an image description, the year of publication, the name of the publisher or website, and the URL (if it’s online). Here are two examples:

MLA:
Johnson, Herbert. Critical Moments. 1921. Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/resource/acd.2a09222/.

APA:
Johnson, H. (1921). Critical moments [Photograph]. Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/resource/acd.2a09222/

See this guide for more information on citing an image in APA.

How do I cite an image with no author?

Image with no author in APA style

To cite an image with no author in APA style, it is important that you know some basic information, such as the title of the image, publication date, publisher/museum/gallery name, physical location, and/or a URL.

Cite the source by its title. If the title is long, shorten it to a word or two for the in-text citation. Move the title of the work to the author position (followed by a period) before the publication date. If the title is italicized in the reference, also italicize the title in the in-text citation. If the title isn’t italicized in the reference, use double quotation marks around it. Capitalize the titles using title case, even when the reference entry uses sentence case.

Templates and examples for in-text citations and a reference list entry of an image without an author are below:

In-text citation template and examples:

Narrative:

Title of the Image (Publication Year) …

Royal Palace (1897) …

Parenthetical:

(Title of the Image, Publication Year).

(Royal Palace, Fontainebleau, France, 1897).

Reference list entry template and example:

In the reference list entry, set the title in italics and sentence case. Include the image’s medium inside square brackets after the date. Use “Image” unless you know a more specific medium, such as “Photograph” or “Clip art.” Do not use a period after the URL.

Viewed online:

Title of the image. (Publication Year). [Medium]. Publisher Name. URL

Royal palace, Fontainebleau, France. (1897). [Photograph]. Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/item/2019640696/

Viewed in person:

Title of the image. (Publication Year). [Medium]. Museum/Gallery Name, City, State Abbreviation, Country Name. URL

Royal palace, Fontainebleau, France. (1897). [Photograph]. Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, United States. https://www.loc.gov/item/2019640696/

Image with no author in MLA style

To cite an image with no author in MLA style, it is important that you know some basic information, such as the title of the image, publication date, publisher/museum/gallery name, physical location, and/or a URL.

Cite the source by its title. If the title is long, shorten it to its most basic noun phrase. Move the title of the work to the author position (followed by a period) before the publication date. If the title is italicized in the reference, also italicize the title in the in-text citation. Capitalize the titles using title case.

Templates and examples for in-text citations and a reference list entry of an image without an author are below:

In-text citation template and examples:

Citation in prose:

Title of the Image

Mosaics ….

Parenthetical:

(Title of the Image).

…. (Mosaics).

Works-cited-list entry template and example:

Viewed online:

Title of the Image. Publication Date. Name of the Website. URL.

Mosaics from Ancient Times to the Modern World. 16 Dec. 2015. Decoded Past. www.decodedpast.com/art-in-history/.

Viewed in person:

Title of the Image. Publication Date. Museum/Gallery Name, City Name.

Mosaics from Ancient Times to the Modern World. 16 Dec. 2015. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.