It's important to use creative works ethically. As art history scholars, artists, and appreciators of the arts, who you cite and how you give credit to other creators has the power to amplify their work and artistic voice. Below are some useful concepts, tools, and resources to help you practice inclusive and ethical research!
When you're writing about an image or multimedia piece in a paper or presentation, you should provide the following pieces of information in the caption and in the bibliography...if you have a list of works of art cited:
- year(s) of creation
- materials or format
- owner (such as a museum or private owner), if applicable
- if from a digital source: date you found the work online
- name of the Web site where you found it
If you're just referring to the piece in your paper, use
- materials or format
the first time you mention it, and just the creator and title thereafter.
Chicago Style Citations
- Purdue Online Writing Lab gives excellent examples (for footnotes/endnotes and bibliographies) on how to cite using the Chicago citation style: books, periodicals, web sources, film & television, and much more.
- Examples for how to cite an image using the Chicago Style, from the Colgate University Visual Resources Library
Use citation management/PDF organizing software to save time and energy when organizing and citing research materials.
Zotero is a free, open sourced, web-based tool for managing citation, organizing PDF's and creating bibliographies. It is a downloadable software program designed for humanities and social sciences research. Developed at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, it is particularly suited for historical sources.
ZoteroBib is a free, quick and easy online bibliography and citation maker that saves time and trouble. Add sources using the ZoteroBib search box. Then copy and paste the complete bibliography (or footnotes or in-text citations) into your paper in the citation style of your choice. (As great as ZoteroBib is, it isn't perfect. Check your citations carefully using citation style guides or ask a librarian for assistance.)
Citation justice is defined as: "The act of citing authors/sources based on identity to uplift marginalized voices with the knowledge that citation is used as a form of power in a patriarchal society based on white supremacy" (Coalter 2022).
In reviewing the references, artwork, and other sources you've compiled in your research, ask yourself:
Whose voices are represented?
Whose voices are missing?
Zine: "Colonization and Decolonization: A Manual for Indigenous Liberation in the 21st Century" (Zig-Zag 2006)
© Infringement, Plagiarism and Art
Copyright is a legal matter. It applies primarily to the reproduction/exhibition/performance of original works (published or unpublished).
Plagiarism is an ethical matter. It applies to the uncredited use and representation of ideas (usually, but not necessarily published).
Image appropriation is when an artist uses an existing work in a piece of art with little or no transformation of the original. It's important to understand copyright, plagiarism, and fair use when incorporating images or original artworks into your research.
When in doubt, check out these useful resources:
Frida Kahlo's image on socks (Flickr)
In acknowledging the work of others, you demonstrate that you:
- Comprehend others’ ideas
- Respect other scholars, including peers
- Prove the value of your own original ideas
- Uphold the integrity of your own ideas as well as those of others