Always follow the instructions given by your professor when citing sources! The outlines below are general. Individual instructors may have specific requests and instructions.
See the Library's MLA style guide for quick tips on citing books, articles, and websites. See the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. in print for full guidelines. (The 8th edition does not include information regarding captions.) A copy can be found at the Research & Information Desk.
Citing images in MLA style: captions and in list of works cited
Fig. 1. Frank Lloyd Wright, Easy Chair, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis.
(Handbook section 4.5, page 118)
In list of works cited, image taken from a website:
Wright, Frank Lloyd. Easy Chair. 1903. Oak, upholstery. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis. Unified Vision: The Architecture and design of the Prairie School. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, n.d. Web. 5 Aug. 2010.
(Handbook section 5.6.2, page 184)
In list of works cited, image taken from a book:
Wright, Frank Lloyd. Easy Chair. 1903. Oak, upholstery. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis. Jennifer Komar Olivarez. Progressive Design in the Midwest: The Purcell-Cutts House and the Prairie School Collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Minneapolis: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2000. Catalog object 6. Print.
(Handbook section 5.7.6, page 200)
General guidelines for figure captions
"If the caption...provides complete information about the source and the source is not cited in the text, no entry for the source in the works-cited list is necessary."
General format for work of art in list of works cited
Artist last name, first name. Title of work. Date. Medium of composition. Museum or collection where work is located, city. Source of image (complete citation for book or website, including page number, figure number, or other relevant identifier).
The Chicago Manual of Style Online (17th Edition) is available as a trial through December 8, 2020:
The instructions below are for the Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition (ref. Z253.U69 2010)
In Chicago style, image and source information is placed in the caption below the image.
Fig. 1. Frank Lloyd Wright, Easy Chair. Oak and upholstery, 30 x 31 11/16 x 26 11/16 in. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis. Reproduced from Jennifer Komar Olivarez, Progressive Design in the Midwest: The Purcell-Cutts House and the Prairie School Collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Minneapolis: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2000), 84.
(Manual 3.21-3.28, pages 122-127)
Chicago style can require either notes (footnotes or endnotes) & bibliography or the author-date system; rely on your professor for which method to use. Notes and bibliography are usually favored for the arts and humanities. The examples below are for citations in a bibliography. See the print manual to format notes. Also see the print manual to format parenthetical text citations and reference list citations in the author-date system.
Sample bibliography entries
Book, one author
Last name, First name. Title. Place: Publisher, date.
Komar Olivarez, Jennifer. Progressive Design in the Midwest: The Purcell-Cutts House and the Prairie School Collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Minneapolis: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2000.
(Manual 14.75, page 695)
Book with an editor
Editor last name, First name, ed. Title. Place: Publisher, date.
Prince, Sue Ann, ed. The Old Guard and the Avant-Garde: Modernism in Chicago, 1910-1940. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.
(Manual 14.87, page 700)
Essay or chapter in a book
Author last name, First name. "Title of Essay." In Title of Book, edited by Editor first name Last name, pp-pp. Place of publication: Publisher, date.
Moser, Charlotte. "'In the Highest Efficiency': Art Training at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago." In The Old Guard and the Avant-Garde: Modernism in Chicago, 1910-1940, edited by Sue Ann Prince, 193-208. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.
(Manual 14.112, page 708)
Last name, First name. "Title of Article." Title of Journal volume, number (year): pages.
Abrams, Ann U. "From Simplicity to Sensation: Art in American Advertising 1904-1929." Journal of Popular Culture 10 (1976): 620-628.
(Manual 14.175-14.185, page 730-734)
Article downloaded from a database
Last name, First name. "Title of Article." Title of Journal volume, number (year): pages. DOI or url.
Twombly, Robert. "Foreword: New Forms, Old Functions: Social Aspects of Prairie School Designs." Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 21, no. 2 (1995): 85-91, 182. doi:10.2307/4102818.
(Manual 14.185, page 734)
Author Last name, First name [if available]. "Title of Page" and/or Title of Site. Organizational publisher (date published) OR date last modified [if available]. Date accessed. url.
Duke University Libraries. "EAA: Timeline." Emergence of Advertising in America. Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library. Accessed August 8, 2016. http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/eaa/timeline/.
(Manual 14.245, page 753)
There are lots of tools that can help you format citations and bibliographies. They make the job of citation easier, but are not always 100% accurate. Double-check automatically-formatted citations before handing in papers!
RefWorks is an online citation manager. You can import and save citations to books and articles from the Library's catalog and databases, sort them into folders for specific classes and projects, plug them into research papers you write using Microsoft Word, and format them into notes and bibliographies in whatever style is required. RefWorks is a powerful tool! See our Guide to RefWorks for more information.
Simpler and less powerful than RefWorks, KnightCite is a free online tool from the Calvin College Library. You type in the parts of your citation (title, author, etc.), and it spits the information back out in MLA, APA or Chicago style format. This tool is popular with students and sometimes recommended by professors.
Look for the tools in our databases, too! EBSCO, FirstSearch (Avery Index, WorldCat), and other databases will show you a citation formatted in a number of styles, and you can just copy and paste the one you need. Look for the "cite" link under "tools" or "resources" when you're looking at an article in a database.
While we librarians are very used to helping students with questions about citation style, the Writing Center is also a helpful resource.
Photo: "Modernity" by the Student Writing Center at Salt Lake Community College