Citing images, videos and more

Image: A young woman with headphones using a tablet
Duration: 4 minutes

Find out when you need to cite music or visual content and how this works. This module is about songs, videos, films, series, games, etc.

What’s most important:
  • Make a clear distinction between content you created yourself and third-party content.
  • Always give precise information about your sources and the specific passage you refer to.
  • If you use graphic materials, a list of figures / tables with references might be useful for your readers.

How do you include music or video content in your paper?

Text and images are visual content which you can easily add to a written paper. But how about music or video content? You cannot include these contents in your paper as they are. However, there are other ways to cite non-visual or moving content.

  • Music
    If you would like to include music, the citation depends on the aspect which you analyze. For example, song lyrics can be analyzed. In this case, you can include them in text form. If you refer to the melody or rhythm, then you should include sheet music. As always, you need to reference the source, i.e. where you found lyrics and/or sheet music.
  • Videos, films and series
    A video consists of several aspects like images, sound, cut etc. Images and scene settings or some techniques of editing can be illustrated with screenshots. Other aspects like sound need to be described. In order to do so, give the exact timestamp you’re discussing. This is helpful for video content of all sorts, like movies, YouTube clips, etc.
  • Video games
    Video games are cited like videos: you can use screenshots and/or describe the aspect you are referring to. Instead of a timestamp, you can add the level, quest or scene.

If you submit a digital version of your paper, you can also add an audio or video file. Just talk to your lecturer or tutor about it.

Example for the correct citation of an image
Figure 1 How to cite images<br>Source Hausarbeitende Citing images videos and more URL httpswwwhausarbeitendetutorialshow to citeciting images videos and more access date February 3rd 2023

How do you cite a piece of art?

A piece of art may be a painting, a sculpture, architecture, music, a film or a video game. As with a book, you need the following information to properly cite the source:

  • Author, artist, interpreter, director or developer
  • Title
  • Publication context like production company, label etc.
  • Publication year
  • Information about the specific version which you used

Distinguishing between own and third-party content

Particularly paintings, sculptures and architecture might be added to your paper as a photograph. In this case, you shouldn’t just include information about the artist, but also about the creator of the photograph.

If you took the picture yourself, it might be helpful to add a note “Author’s own work”. This is a helpful remark for every kind of photograph, image and figure you create for your paper. But don’t forget to differentiate between a component which you created all by yourself and one which you found elsewhere.

A table which you created yourself, but which contains data from another researcher shouldn’t be marked with “Author’s own work”. Instead, you must add the information about the origin of the data, for example: “Author’s own work, based on data from XY”. The same applies for diagrams or other illustrations which contain third-party content.

⚠ Don’ts
  • Don’t claim third-party content as your own.
  • Don’t use photos without crediting their creator.
  • Don’t forget to include materials that illustrate your results.

Test yourself: Do you know everything about citing images, videos or pieces of art?

How can you refer to a film in a written paper?

  1. I have to submit the whole film together with my paper
  2. I add screenshots or describe the passage and include relevant timestamps
  3. I paint a picture of the passage I’m referring to
    Solution:

   B – I add screenshots or describe the passage and include relevant timestamps.

What information do you need to quote a video game?

  1. Title, developer, production company and publication year, if necessary, level or quest
  2. I should mention its age rating
  3. A link to the solution book
    Solution:

   A – Title, developer, production company and publication year, if necessary, level or quest

Which parts of your paper may be marked as “Author’s own work”?

  1. Every figure which I added to my paper
  2. Only hand drawn paintings
  3. Diagrams, tables and other illustrations which I created myself
    Solution:

   C – Diagrams, tables and other illustrations which you created yourself, there should be a clear distinction between such content and third-party content

How do you refer to the architecture of a building?

  1. I add a picture of it and include information about the building as well as the creator of the picture
  2. A picture of the building is sufficient
  3. I can only add pictures which I created myself
    Solution:

   A – I add a picture of it and include information about the building as well as the creator of the picture. A picture without copyright information isn’t sufficient.

What is the purpose of a list of figures?

  1. To show my insights right at the beginning of my paper
  2. To give an overview of the important parts of my paper
  3. To give an overview of my figures and maybe also collect all references in one place
    Solution:

   C – To give an overview of my figures and maybe also collect all references in one place

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