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Physics: Finding and citing images

Why do we need to cite images?

  • Images are usually subject to either copyright or an open license (such as a Creative Commons license). In both cases, the image must be cited
  • To maintain academic integrity we need to acknowledge our sources, whether they are text or images.

What about Wikipedia?

  • Information or images licensed under Creative Commons (like Wikipedia) always require attribution at minimum

Websites to search for images and icons:



Wikipedia logoWikipedia

Wikipedia is free to access and is licensed under a Creative Commons license. The terms of the license require attribution and the resource being created must be shared under the same or a similar license. 

Attribution for Creative Commons Licenses



1) Name of creator hyperlinked to profile
2) Title of image hyperlinked to image source
3) Link to creative commons license
4) Site retrieved from

**Identify images in the public domain


1) Name of creator (Wikipedia)
2) Name of article (hyperlinked)
3) Date accessed


Note: Some websites do not use Creative Commons licenses, but create their own license. Make sure to check a website's license requirements on the 'Terms-of-Use' page, to see how to properly cite an image. 

Sample assignment with proper attribution

Example Physics 1118 Assignment

A coastal grizzly bear weighs 408 kg and is running at 30 km/h to catch a bus. What is the magnitude of the momentum of the grizzly bear?

Bus stop signrunning grizzly bear


We will use the equation: momentum (p) = mass (m) in kilograms  X velocity (v) in meters per second


p = 408kg X (30km/1h) X (1h/3600s) X (1000m/km) = 3400 kg•m/s



Bus stop image: Bathurst Bus Stop by What's new? in the public domain. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons

Bear icon: Brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos) running by Malene Thyssen under a CC-BY-SA license. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons

Average weight of grizzly bear: Grizzly Bear. In Wikipedia. Retrieved on January 22, 2019.

Complete attribution:

A complete attribution includes the title of the image (linked to the source image), creator's name (linked to their profile page), a link to the license, and a clear statement of where it was retrieved from as shown below. Wikipedia includes the retrieved from date because it is updated regularly and the information may have changed.