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Info Skills Road Trip: 4 - Evaluating sources: Images & other sources

Using a Creative Commons image

CassowaryFor example, this image is from a site that allows re-use with attribution, I found it using the advanced search feature on Google Image Search. This let me limit my results to images that are allowed to be re-used, the conditions on this particular photo ask that the author is attributed - you can see where I have done this in the caption.


Figure 1: A southern cassowary posing in the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore (Tørrissen, 2008).

Above is how I would cite the image using APA referencing style if I had used it in my assignment.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons share icon You are free to copy, distribute & transmit the image
Creative Commons remix icon You may remix or adapt the image
Creative Commons attribute icon You must attribute the work to the author

What about things that aren't books or journals?

What about everything on the web?

Information we find on the web has to meet a higher standard before we use it in an assignment. Why? It is very easy to put information on the web. This means there may not be a review process in place that ensures published books and journal articles are credible sources. There are good sources of information on the web. Government information is published on the web: the Bureau of Statistics for instance is the premier source of statistics about Australia. There is accurate information produced in all areas of government such as health, environment and economics.

How will you decide whether to use a web source or not?

Use the checklist! Can you see who put up the information; when it was last updated; can you tell if it is from a trustworthy source?

What about YouTube, movies, computer games?

Finally, the source you are using could be what we call an object of analysis. So sources that are not scholarly at all, such as artworks, poetry, films, television programs, video games, clips on YouTube, critical reviews of films etc, might be the subject under discussion. Use these types of sources and cite them, but use additional scholarly sources when necessary to back up comments you are making about the object of analysis.

Using images fairly

If you use images you found online, using Google Image Search for example,  you need to be aware of the copyright issues surrounding this type of usage.

For instance, it may be fair usage for you to use an image you found on the Internet for the purpose of your study however it does depend how widely available you intend to make your modified version. It is also important to know that the original artist of an artistic work needs to be acknowledged even if it is considered 'fair dealing' to use their work.  

The Australian Copyright Council produces useful information sheets including one called Fair dealing: what can I use without permission on their website. Linked below is an A-Z of their information sheets, you may find many topics interesting. If you think your university work might have a 'bigger' life in the real world it could mean that the 'fair dealing' provision for study would no longer apply to you. Some information sheets of particular interest might be Websites and Copyright, Games and Copyright, Journalists and Copyright. 


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