How to Find, Use, and Cite Images Online

Even when you have permission to use an image, you should cite the original source, creator and/or copyright owner. Many websites will have a statement of usage or terms of use listed for their images – this is their guidelines for permission they give you to use their photos and they rules they want you to follow.

It is best practice to find credible images in collections that allow you to use their images; this means they have licenses that allow their use.

The library does have some image resources listed under Multimedia on the library homepage.  Keep in mind, that even with library image resources, you need to make sure you have permission to use the images and you always need to cite when you use anything from in the online library.

There are many Creative Commons cites that allow you to do this. Some examples of sites like this:

Many of you are probably used to using Google to search for images. One very important thing that you want to keep in mind when doing this is that Google Image Search is just a search, it is not the website that the image is on and it is not the original home of that image.  To find the actual source of that image, which is what you need to cite if you use it, you need to click on the image in Google Image Search and then click the “Visit Page” button on the right side of the image.

An example of a Google Image Search for panda bear images


Click the “Visit Page” button to see the original source of this image to find info you need to cite the image. (“National Geographic Kids Giant Panda Facts and Pictures”, 2015)

This is the original source for this image. I need to use this URL address as my retrieved from link in my citation. I also need to make sure this site gives permission to use this image.

(“National Geographic Kids Giant Panda Facts and Pictures”, 2015)

Once you get to the original website the image was found on, you want to look for source information for the image.  See if you can spot the information on the copyright owner or photographer (author), the date, the name of the website, the title for the image.  This is all information you need to cite the image.  You also want to make sure this site allows you to use this image. Look for some mention of terms of use on the webpage.

The example website I used, National Geographic Kids, calls this “terms of service.” Click on this to see their permission information if it is not listed with the actual image on the page. When I get to their Terms of Use page, there is a lot of information but eventually there is a section called “Limited Content License” that talks about using information, images, text, etc. from their website.

(“National Geographic Kids Terms of Use”, 2017)

(“National Geographic Kids Terms of Use”, 2017)

This can get a bit complicated, so you can see why it is often much easier to use one of the creative commons image sites that already gives you permission and information to cite is fairly easy to locate. Either way, always cite the original source, if you are able to find it.

How to cite images in your assignment and resources list:

On the library website, we link to citation style guides that will give you all of the information on how to cite many types of resources. Direct links are below.




Reference List:

National Geographic Kids Giant Panda Facts and Pictures. (2015, February 17). Retrieved July 20, 2017, from
National Geographic Kids Terms of Use. (2017, July 11). Retrieved July 20, 2017, from

How to create links to items in the online library

You may have discovered that when you copy and paste the link from your web browser when viewing an article or e-book in the online library, and then try to share it or go back to it later, it doesn’t work. That is because linking to items in the online library requires something called a permalink or a persistent URL.

Why do I have to do this?

This is because only those with Empire State College logins can access our paid for subscription databases and collections. In order to link to the article (or other item) in the online library so someone with a college login can access it, the link has to be made in a way that lets them login with their own information. When you are viewing an article, that link in your web browser is only good for your current logged in session.

How do I create a permalink?

Every database and collection in the online library is a bit different, based on what vendor we subscribe to for that collection. For directions on how to create permalinks, we have it broken down by each collection for you. Visit our Permalink (PURL) page for directions

How to login to save articles for later in an EBSCOHost folder

We have many databases through EBSCOHost and a great feature they have is the folder. Other databases have similar options.   We get quite a few calls or chats from students wondering why their saved items aren’t there when they log back in.  The issue is that your Empire State College login gives you access to the databases in the online library but it doesn’t make the special features work in those databases. Each database comes from a different company or vendor and they each function a little differently so their special features, like saving for later, require a free login account that you create with that database.

Once you create a personal account, any items that you save will automatically go into your folder for you to be able to access them easily later. You will be able to use the same personal account in any of the EBSCOHost databases at the library because this EBSCOHost login works for all of their databases.  The same goes for other databases, for example we have multiple databases from Proquest so if you create an account in one Proquest database and go into a different one, that account should work for all Proquest databases.

How to create a personal account in EBSCOHost:

  • From the Sign In Screen, click the Create a new Account link.
  • The Create a New Account Screen appears with Personal Account entered in the Account Type field. Fill in the fields on the Create a New Account Screen. When you have completed the fields, click Submit.
  • If all the information was accepted, a message appears that provides your user name and password. Click OK. You will be automatically logged in as a personal user. You should note the user name and password you created so you can log in at a future session.

Once your personal account is created and you are logged in, you should see My EBSCOHost.

How to use the folder:

To save articles, click the Add to folder link at the bottom of each article listing. To add all items on a page to your folder, click the Alert/Save/Share link and click Results (1-10) at the top of the menu. Result numbers to be added will change as you page through the list of results.

As you add the articles to the folder, you can click the Folder icon (or the Go to Folder View link) and review which items have been added. The Image Quick View feature provides the ability to view thumbnails of the images in an article right from the Folder screen.

You can print, e-mail, save, or export many results all at the same time using the Tools in the right column.

If you have signed in via My EBSCOHost, any search results that you collect in your folder will be automatically saved at the end of the session.

You can also create custom folders to sort the articles that you save. You can specify which folder you want to save to when you click Add to Folder.

How to create customized folders:

  • Click on Folder in EBSCOHost.
  • Click on New next to My Custom (see below).
  • A form should appear where you can create a folder name and add any notes you would like. Hit Save.

For more information about creating or using a personal account in EBSCOHost or how to use the folders, please visit an EBSCOHost database through the library website at and select Article Databases. From there scroll to E and choose EBSCOHost. Once in an EBSCOHost database, click on Help on the upper right hand corner and browse for your topic.

Ask-a-Librarian Hours for the 4th of July Holiday 2017

The Ask-a-Librarian service will be open for Summer Hours on Sunday, July 2 and Monday, July 3.

We will be closed on Tuesday, July 4.

The Ask Us 24/7 chat service where librarians from other libraries are able to answer your questions is available at all times when Ask-a-Librarian is not available.

Summer Hours:

Memorial Day through Labor Day
– Sun: 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
– Mon-Thu: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
– Fri: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


Ask-a-Librarian Phone Service Limited

Empire State College is installing a new phone system through all of the Saratoga Springs offices. This is going to happen on the morning of Friday, June 16.

Due to this installation process, the library’s Ask-a-Librarian phone services may be limited.  Phones and voicemail may not be fully accessible to the librarians during this transition.  We recommend that if you need immediate assistance from a librarian that you email us at or talk to us on chat.  You can also fill out the form at

We apologize for any inconvenience and we hope to have things smoothed out by Monday, June 19.

How to Cite Your Sources using the OWL Style Guides

If you have been working on papers, discussions or other assignments, you have likely been asked to cite your sources. Depending on the subject area that you are working in and your instructor’s preference, there are a few citation styles that you could be asked to use for this. Luckily, the Empire State College Library is here to help.

Once you know what style your instructor requires for your assignment, you should visit the library homepage at On the library homepage, you will see the link for “Cite Your Sources.” Click on that. Choose the tab for your citation style from APA, MLA, CSE or Chicago/Turabian.

Under your citation style tab, you will see a citation style guide listed as OWL. This is a very helpful source that will help get you through citing your sources.

If you have any questions, you can always contact the library. We are here to help. We can’t check your work but we can help you figure out how to format your citation for a particular source or help you find the citation information if you forgot to write it all down when you first found your resource.

Since APA and MLA are the more commonly used styles, I am going to review the features of the OWL guide below. If you aren’t sure which citation style to use, ask your instructor.


The OWL‘s APA citation style guide also has a menu on the left side of the screen. Their menu is much more detailed. The menu includes general format information which has a sample title page. It also includes In-Text citation information. Below that, you will see a link for Footnotes and Endnotes. Then there are 7 links to help you with your Reference List. They start with Basic Rules and then are broken down by resource type. If you are using items from the online library, you probably want to start with Reference List: Electronic Sources. If you would like to see a sample paper, scroll down a bit on the menu until you see Sample APA Paper. That link will show you a sample paper.





The OWL‘s MLA citation style guide has general information on how to format your paper on the first page. Next on the menu which is on the left side of the page, you will see MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics. This will help you with how to format your in-text citations. After that, the menu includes how to format quotations as well as endnotes and footnotes. For your works cited page, you will see 5 different items listed in the menu based on the type of resource you are using. If you are using an item from the online library, you most likely want to start with MLA Words Cited: Electronic Resources. If you would like to view a sample paper or works cited page, scroll down until you see MLA Sample Paper or MLA Sample Works Cited on the menu.

We have many other resources to help you with your citations on our Cite Your Sources page which you can find here:

Library Summer Hours: May 30-Sept 1

As of today, May 30, 2017, the Ask a Librarian service is on Summer Hours.  Summer Hours run until Labor Day when we switch back to normal business hours.

The Ask a Librarian service consists of phone calls, emails, online form questions, and live chat with an Empire State College librarian.  During the hours we are not available, librarians from other institutions are on our Ask Us 24/7 chat service and they can help answer your library questions.

Ask a Librarian Summer Hours
– Sun: 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
– Mon-Thu: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
– Fri: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.