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MLA Style for Writing: Images, Charts, Graphs, Maps & Tables

This guide will cover MLA format for papers.

What to Do

  • Determine the title of the work - You may have to create your own caption or description.

  • Determine who created the work - artist, design, photographer, illustrator, etc. This can be difficult to find. If you are stuck, try looking at any embedded metadata in the image or try a reverse image search like TinEye or Google Search by Image.

  • Determine who provided the image - Flickr, someone's blog or website, company's official website, stock photo, online photo collection, research database, museum website, etc. When possible, link to the original or definitive source, not the Pinterest board.

  • Evaluate the image -  Like other sources, images should be evaluated for quality. A photo of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre website will be more credible than one found on AllPosters.com or one of the first search results.

  • Document where you found the image online - When possible, link to the page with the information about the image. Otherwise, link directly to the image. Also, write down the date you last accessed it successfully.

  • Look for rights statements and crediting preferences - Is there a Creative Commons license? a link to their terms of use? Some sites will provide links, citations, or guidelines on how to credit their images and content.

Finding this information can be very difficult and very frustrating. For example, this image on Pinterest originally went to a dead link on metmuseum.org. Searching that website for "lamassu" returned a few results, which eventually pointed to this page on the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.

From Citing Images via Otis College of Art and Design

Is it a Figure or a Table

There are two types of material you can insert into your assignment: figures and tables.

A figure is a photo, image, map, graph, or chart.

A table is a table of information.

For a visual example of each, see the figure and table to the right.

 

Still need help?

For more information on citing figures in MLA, see Purdue OWL.

 

Citing Artwork Using Noodletools

Non-MLA Captions

Need help captioning or citing images outside of the academic context?

Check out Fair Use: Using Images for information on how to caption someone else's image on your own website.

Generic Image Credit Format:

"Title" by A. Creator, via source (photo attribution).

Examples:

"Mt. Fuji" by Yayoi Kusama, via Art + Auction vol. 34, no. 4, Nov. 2010.

Skirt by Annakiki, via WGSN.

"Angel's Flight" by Millard Sheets, via LACMA.

Beatrice Took a Photo! by mstornadox, via Tumblr.

Six Apple logos from 1976 to now, via Rob Janoff (© RobJanoff 2012).

Man stretching, via Sports Digest, 8 May 2006.

Zaha Hadid's notebooks, via "Zaha Hadid" (photo Luke Hayes).

Citing Images

Creator's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Image." Title of Journal, vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Date of Publication, pp. First Page - Last Page. Name of Database

For captions, use: Fig. #. Description of figure: from Citation.

For in-text citations, use (Fig. #) or (Creator's Last Name)

Works Cited Example

Kusama, Yayoi. "Mt. Fuji (QPWE) [Art Reproduction]." Art + Auction, vol. 34, no. 4, Nov. 2010, p. 46. Art & Architecture Source.

Caption Example

Mt. Fuji by Yayoi Kusama

Fig. 1. "Mt. Fuji" by Yayoi Kusama from: Art + Auction, vol. 34, no. 4, Nov. 2010, p. 46. Art & Architecture Source.

 Note: If the citation is included in the caption, you do not need to add it to the Works Cited list.

In-Text Citation Example

(Fig. 1) or (Kusama)

 Note: While MLA 8th edition recommends including URLs, they can be left out when citing a work found in a library database. Accessed date is also optional.

Creator's Last Name, First Name. Title of Work. Date of Composition or Publication, Medium, Repository, City.

For captions, use: Fig. #. Title by artist, Citation.

For in-text citations, use (Fig. #) or (Creator's Last Name)

Works Cited Example

Sheets, Millard. Angel's Flight. 1931, oil on canvas, Los Angeles Country Museum of Art.

 Note: The city name was omitted since it appears in the repository name.

Caption Example

Angel's Flight by Millard Sheets

Fig. 3. Angel's Flight by Millard Sheets, 1931, oil on canvas, Los Angeles Country Museum of Art.

 Note: If the citation is included in the caption, you do not need to add it to the Works Cited list.

In-Text Citation Example

(Fig. 3) or (Sheets)

If you are discussing a specific reproduction or version of a work of art, add information about where you found the image.

Creator's Last Name, First Name. Title of Work. Date of Composition or Publication, Medium, Repository, City. Title of Book or Web Site, Edition information, Contributors, Publisher, p. Page Number, URL. Accessed Date.

For captions, use: Fig. #. Description of figure: Citation.

For in-text citations, use (Fig. #) or (Creator's Last Name)

Works Cited Examples

Sheets, Millard. Angel's Flight. 1931, oil on canvas, Los Angeles Country Museum of Art. LACMA, collections.lacma.org/node/225837. Accessed 9 Nov. 2017.

Sheets, Millard. Angel's Flight. 1931, oil on canvas, Los Angeles Country Museum of Art. Painting and Sculpture in Los Angeles, 1900-1945, by Nancy Moure, LACMA, p.56.

Sheets, Millard. Angel's Flight. 1931, oil on canvas, Los Angeles Country Museum of Art. Flickr, photo by Randall Hobbet (Lightbender), 8 June 2014, www.flickr.com/photos/rdhobbet/14538537296. Accessed 9 Nov. 2017.

 Note: When possible, use the real name with the username in parentheses.

Caption Examples

Fig. 3. Angel's Flight by Millard Sheets: 1931, oil on canvas, Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, collections.lacma.org/node/225837. Accessed 9 Nov. 2017.

Fig. 3. Angel's Flight by Millard Sheets: 1931, oil on canvas, Los Angeles Country Museum of Art. Painting and Sculpture in Los Angeles, 1900-1945, by Nancy Moure, LACMA, p.56.

Fig. 3. Angel's Flight by Millard Sheets: 1931, oil on canvas, Los Angeles Country Museum of Art. Flickr, photo by Randall Hobbet (Lightbender), 8 June 2014, www.flickr.com/photos/rdhobbet/14538537296. Accessed 9 Nov. 2017.

In-Text Citation Example

(Fig. 3) or (Sheets)

Creator's Last Name, First Name (Username). "Title of Digital Image." Title of Website, Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher/Platform, Date of Publication, URL. Accessed date.

For captions, use: Fig. #. Description from: Citation.

For in-text citations, use (Fig. #) or (Creator's Last Name)

Works Cited Example

mstornadox. "Beatrice Took a Photo." Yoyodyne Industries, Tumblr, 5 Nov. 2014, mstornadox.tumblr.com/post/101904587855/beatrice-took-a-photo. Accessed 9 Nov. 2017.

 Note: The username was used in place of the real name.

Caption Example

Beatrice Selfie

Fig. 4. Cat selfie from: mstornadox "Beatrice Took a Photo." Yoyodyne Industries, Tumblr, 5 Nov. 2014, mstornadox.tumblr.com/post/101904587855/beatrice-took-a-photo. Accessed 9 Nov. 2017.

 Note: If the citation is included in the caption, you do not need to add it to the Works Cited list.

In-Text Citation Example

(Fig. 4) or (mstornadox)

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Website, Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher/Platform, Date of Publication, URL. Accessed date.

For captions, use: Fig. #. Description from: Citation.

For in-text citations, use (Fig. #) or (Author's Last Name) or  ("Words from Title or Article").

Works Cited Example

 "It All Started with a Fruit." Rob Janoff, contributions by www.fansofapple.com, robjanoff.com/applelogo/. Accessed 16 Nov. 2017.

Caption Example

6 Apple Logos from 1976 to today

Fig. 5. Six Apple logos from 1976 to now from: "It All Started with a Fruit." Rob Janoff, contributions by www.fansofapple.com, robjanoff.com/applelogo/. Accessed 16 Nov. 2017.

 Note: If the citation is included in the caption, you do not need to add it to the Works Cited list.

In-Text Citation Example

(Fig. 5) or ("It All Started With a Fruit")

Articles: Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Journal, Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Date of Publication, p. Page Numbers.

Books: Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Book, Edition, Publisher, Year of Publication.

For captions, use: Fig. #. Description from: Citation.

For in-text citations, use (Fig. #) or (Author's Last Name Page Number) or ("Title of Article" Page Number)

Works Cited Example

Green, Annie. "Yoga: Stretching Out." Sports Digest, 8 May 2006, p. 22.

Caption Example

Black and white male figure exercising

Fig. 6. Man exercising from: Green, Annie. "Yoga: Stretching Out." Sports Digest, 8 May 2006, p. 22.

 Note: If the citation is included in the caption, you do not need to add it to the Works Cited list.

In-Text Citation Example

(Fig. 6) or (Green 22)

Table #
Label/description
< TABLE GOES HERE>
Source: Citation.

For in-text citations, use (Table #)

Works Cited Example

Mohr, Andrea. "Family Variables Associated With Peer Victimization." Swiss Journal of Psychology, vol65, no. 2, 2006, pp. 107-116, Psychology Collectiondoi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1024/1421-0185.65.2.107.

Example:

Table 1

Variables in determining victims and aggressors

Table from a journal listing variables in determining victims and aggressors

Source: Mohr, Andrea. "Family Variables Associated With Peer Victimization." Swiss Journal of Psychology, vol65, no. 2, 2006, pp. 107-116, Psychology Collectiondoi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1024/1421-0185.65.2.107.

 Note: If the full citation is included in the source caption, you do not need to add it to the Works Cited list.

In-Text Citation Example

(Table 1)

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Figure (Photo, Image, Graph, or Chart) Inserted Into a Research Paper

Fig. X. Description of the figure from: citation for source figure was found in.

The caption for a figure begins with a description of the figure, then the complete Works Cited list citation for the source the figure was found in. For example, if it was found on a website, cite the website. If it was in a magazine article, cite the magazine article.

Label your figures starting at 1.

Information about the figure (the caption) is placed directly below the image in your assignment.

If the image appears in your paper the full citation appears underneath the image (as shown below) and does not need to be included in the Works Cited List. If you are referring to an image but not including it in your paper you must provide an in-text citation and include an entry in the Works Cited List.

Example:

Black and white male figure exercising

Fig. 1. Man exercising from: Green, Annie. "Yoga: Stretching Out." Sports Digest, 8 May 2006, p. 22. 

Example:

Yellow printed skirt by designer Annakiki. Faces on skirt.

Fig. 2. Annakiki skirt from: Cheung, Pauline. "Short Skirt S/S/ 15 China Womenswear Commercial Update." WGSN.

Tips

Reproducing Figures and Tables

Reproducing happens when you copy or recreate a photo, image, chart, graph, or table that is not your original creation. If you reproduce one of these works in your assignment, you must create a note (or "caption") underneath the photo, image, chart, graph, or table to show where you found it. If you do not refer to it anywhere else in your assignment, you do not have to include the citation for this source in a Works Cited list.

When to Add to the Works Cited List

If the image appears in your paper and the full citation appears in the caption, it does not need to be included in the Works Cited List. If the full caption is not included in the figure's caption, include an entry in the Works Cited List.

If you are referring to an image but not including it in your paper, you must provide an in-text citation and include an entry in the Works Cited List.

Source

If you have trouble finding specific information about an image, cite the entire book, magazine article, web site, etc. where you found it. For example if information came from a table in an article in National Geographic magazine, you would cite the entire magazine article and add the relevant page number to the caption or in-text citation.

Figure and Table Numbers

The word figure should be abbreviated to Fig. Each figure should be assigned a figure number, starting with number 1 for the first figure used in the assignment. For example, Fig. 1.

Do not abbreviate the word table. Each Table should be assigned a table number, starting with number 1 for the first table used in the assignment. For example, Table 1

Title

Images may not have a set title. If this is the case give a description of the image where you would normally put the title. Do not italicize or put this description in quotes.

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