Dear Marian: Presentations and Attribution

Dear Marian,

I have to do a presentation for class and want to create a PowerPoint. Everything I hear says that a good PowerPoint is not just text, so I want to incorporate lots of photos and quotes. Since this is not a formal paper, I don’t have to cite this stuff right?

Signed,
Visually Interesting but a Little Uncertain

Dear Uncertain,

I’m so glad you asked before you get yourself into trouble. You have probably encountered tools to help you properly cite resources such as books and scholarly articles when writing research papers. But other types of sources must also be attributed. This includes films, audio, and graphic evidence from online data sources.

In a presentation, you don’t have to follow the formality of citation, but you must give attribution. Try to include:

  • the name of the creator of the work
  • the title
  • year(s) when it was composed/completed
  • date the work was retrieved
  • the website from which the work was retrieved (a hyperlink if the format allows).

Attribution isn’t just necessary for your assignments. Attributing images and other works in blogs and social media is an important part of digital citizenship. Proper attribution doesn’t just keep you safe legally, but promotes an ethical internet community.

Every style has its own rules for citation of content. It can be confusing, so the librarians at Webster University created a guide to the subject. Check it out! And as always, when in doubt, Ask a Librarian!

Informationally yours,
Marian

Image: Shirley Jones as Marian the Librarian in The Music Man (Warner Brothers, 1962). Image provided by Artsmeme.

Image: Shirley Jones as Marian the Librarian in The Music Man (Warner Brothers, 1962). Image provided by Artsmeme.

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