Open Washington has a very helpful Open Attribution Builder to help create attributions for the openly licensed materials that you reuse. Fill out the form and copy+paste the attribution into your own document. Make sure to place the attribution in the same place as the work you’re reusing so that readers know you’re crediting the original creator!

Sample attribution for an openly licensed image: "Creative Commons Licenses Infographic" by ricardo56 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

For more examples of good and not-so-good attribution statements, see Best practices for attribution on the Creative Commons Wiki.

Citations vs Attributions

Citation and attribution are similar concepts in that they both aim to give credit to others. Citations give credit when you use someone else’s ideas or words in your own work. Attributions give credit when you reuse or reproduce someone else’s openly licensed work. While citations help you avoid plagiarism, attributions fulfil a legal requirement.




Use when:

Quoting, summarizing, paraphrasing others’ work.

Reusing openly licensed content




If you don’t do it...

It’s plagiarism

It’s a violation of the copyright license

How to:

Follow MLA, APA, or another style guide

No official style guide. Include title, author, URL, and license


The style guide will tell you where to include your citations

Include your attribution in the same place the work is used

Applies to:

Copyright, openly licensed, and public domain materials

Only openly licensed materials

The content on this page has been remixed from an openly licensed work. Here’s the attribution for this content:

This page is a remix of "Citations vs. Attributions" by Amy Hofer, Open Oregon Educational Resources, which is licensed under CC BY 4.0 / A derivative from the original work by Quill West.