ETDs: Citations

Current info for Graduate Students about electronic theses and dissertations.


  • Sound scholarship rests upon a foundation of accessible information
  • Give credit/recognition
  • Show respect
  • Enable access/discovery
  • Research transparency (open to scrutiny)
  • Avoid plagiarism


If you include illustrations, for example, created by someone else in your ETD, you must appropriately cite the source of each figure, table, photo, etc., and provide documentation of permission to use, fair use, public domain, and/or a statement of ownership.

Tools and Guides

Best Practices for Attribution, Creative Commons

Style and Citation Guides: Follow the style guide your department recommends.


Citations usually have this information about the original source of the image:

  • Author or creator of the work
  • Title of the article and journal or book, Web site, etc. where of the quote or illustration
  • URL or volume, issue, and/or page number
  • Publisher, place of publication, and date of publication is a tool offered by the University Libraries to prevent link rot in scholarship.

Citing Media (e.g., images, etc.)

  • Citations can be included in one of several locations: as an appendix with the list of illustrations, with your list of figures and tables, or with the individual illustrations.
  • include a statement such as “with permission,” “public domain,” “fair use,” etc.
  • “Best practices for attribution” by Creative Commons
  • ARCH 1024 (links)

Citing Data

Citing Copyrighted Works

Include an annotated list of illustrations (e.g., figures, tables, photographs, and the like) in the style and format your department/program area/college prefers. Citations should include:

  • Page number from the original work
  • Illustration number in your work
  • Appropriate statement; for example:
    • Used with permission, letter/email attached
    • Fair use; determination attached
    • Public domain: published before 1923
    • Statement of authorship

Citation Examples

Fig. 7. Foster, Patrick N. “Classifying Approaches to and Philosophies of Elementary-School Technology Education.”
Journal of Technology Education, 8(2): 31. Fair Use determination attached.

Fig. 5. Walters, Sam. North Main Street Business Fronts, Blacksburg, Virginia. Virginia Tech April 16, 2007 Memorial Archive. Digital
Library and Archives, University Libraries, Virginia Tech. Photograph.14954 Used with permission from the Digital Library and archives; email attached.