Research Guides

Citing Social Media and Other Digital Sources


Lastname, F. (Creative role). (YYYY, Month Day). Title [digital image]. Retrieved from URL

Ferraro, A. (Photographer). (2014, April 28). Liberty enlightening the world [digital image]. Retrieved from


From a database

Lastname, First M. Title of Work. Month Date, Year Created. Collection, Museum/Institution, Location. Accessed Month Date, Year. Database*, URL.

Brady, Mathew. Edwin Booth. 1866. Digital image of albumen print. Minneapolis College of Art & Design. Minneapolis, MN. Accessed April 24, 2019.

*Include name of database only if record locator does not contain it, i.e., in the case of a DOI.

From a website

Lastname, First M. “Title.” Digital image. Website Title. Month Date, YYYY. Accessed Month Date, YYYY*. URL.

Ferraro, Alain. "Liberty enlightening the world." Digital image. April 28, 2014. Flickr.

*Include date of access only if the item does not have a specified date.


From a database

Lastname, Firstname. “Title of the image.” Title of the journal or container where the image was found, First name Last name of any other contributors responsible for the image, Version of the image (if applicable), Any numbers associated with the image (such as a volume and issue number, if applicable), Publisher, Publication date, Location. Title of the database or second container, URL or DOI number.

"Lee Krasner." Women's Review of Books, Randall, Margaret, vol. 35, issue 5, p. 18, Old City Publishing, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. Academic Source Complete,

From a website

Lastname, Firstname. “Title of the digital image.” Title of the website, Firstname, Lastname of any contributors, Publisher, Publication date, URL.

Ferraro, Alain. "Liberty enlightening the world."  Flickr, April 28, 2014,

Imagine this scenario: In a paper, you refer to a painting that you were only able to see reproduced in a journal, accessed online. It is possible that the reproduction in that journal will differ from other reproductions and/or from the painting itself. You ought therefore to cite not only the painting but also the article where the image of it appeared. Here, in this complex example, we begin to have to create citation styles from the guidelines that the formats provide. You'll need to include the identifying information of the original painting and of the article and the journal in which it was published. 

In what order? The container concept of MLA's style is very helpful. The painting is IN an article, which is IN a journal, which is IN a database. 


Hartigan, G. (1962). Phoenix. [Painting]. In Lavazzi, T. (2000). Lucky Pierre Gets into Finger Paint: Grace Hartigan and Frank O’Hara’s Oranges. Aurora: The Journal of the History of Art, 1, 122–37. Retrieved from

Chicago (bibliographic citation form)

Grace Hartigan. Phoenix. 1962. Reproduced in Lavazzi, Thomas. 2000. “Lucky Pierre Gets into Finger Paint: Grace Hartigan and Frank O’Hara’s Oranges.” Aurora: The Journal of the History of Art 1 (November): 122–37.


Note that in citing the container (the journal article), the title of the article precedes the name of the author.

Hartigan, Grace. Phoenix. 1962, private collection. “Lucky Pierre Gets into Finger Paint: Grace Hartigan and Frank O’Hara’s Oranges,” by Lavazzi, Thomas. Aurora: The Journal of the History of Art, vol. 1, Nov. 2000, pp. 122–137. Art Full Text,