The Heart of Attribution

Hearts suspended on cords
Three Red Hearts Hanging With White Flowers by congerdesign, CC0 License, Retrieved from

My recent posts have images from two stock photo sites: Pexels and Unsplash.  Since these sites require no attribution, we have few rules for crediting the images we use from them.  Then we think about why we attribute images.

First of all we want to give the photographer credit.  Secondly we want to help our readers find the image.  To these ends my captions include title (when available), author, Creative Commons license and source.  The Creative Commons (2014) lists these four elements as the general best practice for attribution (Section 2).

I don’t claim to have perfect captions.  Few of the photos have titles, for example.  Even the Creative Commons (2014) acknowledges that there is no one right way to attribute such materials (Section 2.2).  We want to respect the work of others (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2016, Information has Value section, Dispositions subsection).   While the details matter, the respect itself is the heart of attribution.


Association of College & Research Libraries. (2016). Framework for information literacy for higher education. Retrieved from ACRL website :

Creative Commons. (2014). Best practices for attribution. Retrieved from


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