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Citing Sources


Web-based research projects, like traditional research papers, must strictly observe scholarly conventions with respect to the citation of sources. In addition to a bibliography, then, authors should provide a citation, in the form of an endnote, at every point in their website where they quote or paraphrase the ideas of another person. A failure to provide proper attribution for "borrowed" ideas constitutes plagiarism, a serious academic offense.

Citing Text | Citing Images

Textual Citations

All of the endnotes for your project should be included on a "Notes" page which, like the annotated bibliography, should be accessible from the front page of the project site. Note numbers within the text of the project should be displayed as superscripted clickable links, like the one at the end of this sentence.12 Clicking on a note number should take the reader directly to the appropriate citation on the "Notes" page by means of an anchored link. See the sample page provided here for an example of how this should work. An acceptable alternative to the "Notes" page is to use "pop-up" notes (full citations appearing in a small, separate window).

Here are a few additional points to bear in mind in preparing citations for your web project:

  • On the "Notes" page (or in your pop-up notes), the citations themselves should be formatted according to the Chicago Style. The first citation of a given work must provide full author, title, publication, and page information; subsequent citations of the same work may use an abbreviated form (do not, however, use "Ibid" or "Op. Cit.).
  • Any reference to another website in the notes should be provided as a clickable link.
  • Notes for the entire project should be numbered in one continuous sequence, as opposed to beginning again with a new #1 in each new section of the site.
  • Avoid excessive note numbers by grouping adjacent citations for one source together in a single note. For example, if two or three contiguous sentences in a single paragraph all draw upon the same passage in one source, a single citation at the end of the last of these sentences will suffice.

Citing Images

For the purposes of an academic website, any non-trivial image that is not an original creation of the author constitutes a borrowed idea and should be attributed accordingly. There are two acceptable ways of achieving this:

1. Provide a caption under the image itself, listing the author, title, and source of the image.

2. Link the image itself to a separate page containing an enlarged version of the same image together with author, title, and source information. This technique is especially useful if there are interesting or important details in the image that are lost in reducing it to a smaller format. See the sample page provided here for examples of how this method works.

Determining whether or not an image requires attribution will often be a matter of personal judgement. A useful rule of thumb might be this: if an image contributes materially to the ideas presented in the site, or a reader might reasonably wish to know the source of an image in order to pursue these ideas further, then it should be attributed.

According to this rule, the following types of image would require attribution:

  • Any photograph, painting, or other work of art whose subject matter is connected to the topic of your site
  • Any reproduction of primary source material, such as a page of a book, newspaper, or government document
  • Portraits of historical figures discussed in your site

The following types of image, similarly would probably not require attribution:

  • An image of a flag used as a navigational button
  • Freely available "clip art" icons
  • A snapshot of yourself on the site's "Credits" page
  • A background image that has nothing to do historically with the content of your site

If in doubt, please consult your instructor, or simply err on the side of caution and provide the attribution. For tips on acquiring permission to use images go to Working with Images.

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(Some of this information is brought to you courtesy of Professor David Porter, who developed several website production resources for his course on 18th century England. If you'd like to take a look at some really exciting examples of what you can do with this project check out his class website, Eighteenth Century England)



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