Advanced: Best practices for quoting source of online image

Submitted by Admin on Fri, 04/14/2017 - 19:24

The trick is to link to the best level - not too broad or too detailed. Let's use a couple of photos from Wellcome Images and as examples.

1. Too broad - the site

You give the website as the source, eg:

Hong Kong Club building

Source: Wellcome Images

The problem is that each of these sites has thousands of images, so the reader has a hard time finding out any information about the photo.


2. Too detailed - the image file

You link to the image file, eg:

Chinese YMCA Bridges Street 1970s.jpg


The link looks better, but in fact it's worse, as we still don't have any information about the photo or who posted it, and we can't even see that the photo was posted to the site.


3. Just right - the page where the image was first posted

For a library site like Wellcome Images, each image has a catalogue page that gives all the information about it that a reader needs. That's the best page to link to, eg

Hong Kong Club building

Source: Wellcome Images -


For discussion sites like or, images are loaded directly into the discussions. We're looking for the first post that the image appears on, as that shows who uploaded it, eg:

Chinese YMCA Bridges Street 1970s.jpg



4. Bonus tip - use text reference and link

Links often stop working over time, so if there's any reference shown, mention that too. eg on the page for the Wellcome Image above, I see:

Cite as    Wellcome Library no. 29675i

Even if the link stops working, it should be possible to track down the photo if we know the reference number "29675i", eg:

Hong Kong Club building

Source: Wellcome Images - their ref: 29675i -

Hi Peter,

Thanks for posting a uwants example ( You've quoted post number 1537 as the source of the photo, but I see it was also included in the previous post at 1536, so that's the one I'd go for.

If you click on the number 1536 on the uwants page, a window pops up with a url. That link ( will take a reader straight to the post so it's an improvement over the link to the general page.

"X215137" is the account name for the person who posted the message and photos.

So at a minimum:

Source: -

Or to cover all the info:

Source: - post#1536 by user X215137 -

Thanks for the great advice, David.   My clicking on the photo's number did pop up a window with a "short" space showing a part of a link, so initially I thought it was the wrong link.  I thought I was stuck since it wanted to know more about me.   Next I Ctrl+C (as it suggests) and pasted it on Wordpad and the whole correct link printed out.  A new lesson today.  I will use your comprehensive option.  Regards, Peter