Attribution and Citation

It's very important that you always cite your sources when using or referencing ideas, images, or quotes that are not your own originally. The guidelines below will help you format these citations.

The References Section

Whether your content directly references the thoughts, ideas or work of other authors, or is only loosely based on the efforts of someone else, you should give credit where it is due and cite these authors in the reference section along with any image credits.

The references section utilizes a div with a class of "references". In this div, place a "References" heading (h2) and an unordered list of the items that require attribution.

<div class="references"><br /> <h2>References</h2><br /> <ul><br /> <li>Workflow inspiration: <a href="">Mastering Workflow</a> by David Allen</li><br /> <li>Image credit: <a href="">Computer</a> by John Smith</li><br /> <li>Song credit: <a href="">Climbing Ladders</a> by Tatum Craig</li><br /> </ul><br /> </div>

You should include the title of the piece and link it to the original content, as well as the author's name. Also, when appropriate, precede this with a brief summary of how that author's work influenced your own. In the above example, David Allen is credited as specifically providing workflow inspiration.


You are strongly encouraged to use original images in your work. When you must use something from an outside source, it's absolutely critical that you obtain permission to do so from the original author. You can read more about this in the Instructor Guide.

Most third party images that you use, especially those that are obtained free of charge, will require attribution of some kind. You can provide this in one of two ways.

The first is through the image caption, which appears directly below the image in the tutorial:

<figure class="tutorial_image"><br /> <img src="imac.jpg" alt="iMac G5" /><br /> <figcaption>Image credit: <a href="">Computer</a> by John Smith</figcaption><br /> </figure>

In some cases, such as with a preview thumbnail or when you're already using the image caption for something else, this solution will not be ideal. In these scenarios, use the "References" section outlined above.

<div class="references"><br /> <h2>References</h2><br /> <ul><br /> <li>Image credit: <a href="">Computer</a> by John Smith</li><br /> <li>Image credit: <a href="">Mouse</a> by Jane Doe</li><br /> </ul><br /> </div>

What to Include In Your Citation

The original source for an image will likely have specific guidelines for how attribution should be formatted when using the material, so please be respectful of the author's wishes. When no such guideline exists, include the title of the image (if one does not exist, create one that describes the image) and the name or website username of the original author. Also, make sure the title text serves as a link to the original source where you obtained the image.

Here's an example:

Inline Citations

The references section at the bottom of your tutorial can be used to cite general sources that you referred to as you put your tutorial together. When you state a very specific piece of information, an inline citation is usually best (place the source right next to the quote).

For example, whenever you have a direct quote, an inline citation is required:

According to MacRumors, "The shareholders intended to bring the issue to a vote at Apple's shareholder meeting on February 28, but backed off once Apple agreed to address the issue through new language in the company's corporate charter."

The example above is the simplest and best method, as it incorporates the source right into the sentence. As an alternative, you can use a parenthetical citation for a given piece of information:

Adobe easily surpassed its target revenue of $1 billion in 2013 (

Note that you should always include a direct link to the page with the information that is being referenced.

If your inline citation adequately points to your source, you do not need to duplicate it in the References section at the bottom of the post.

Common Knowledge

Many widely known facts fall into a category known as common knowledge, and therefore do not need citation of any kind. For example, if you state that Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO of Facebook, this would be a very well-known piece of information and as such would not require a specific reference. has a detailed article describing what is and isn't considered common knowledge. Read through this if you have any questions regarding the use of common knowledge and keep in mind that, when in doubt, it's always best to include your source.