Skip to main content

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Attribution Basics

What is attribution?

Just as you cite and provide references in your scholarship, attribution acknowledges the original creator. Each Creative Commons license requires attribution (CC BY), so that original authorship is given every time the work is used. 

How do I attribute? 
Use the Open Attribution Builder from Open Washington - just copy/paste the information about the creator and title. 
You can then add your attribution either below the image or in a descriptive caption. 
Another tool is the OpenAttribute browser plugin, which functions as you browse the web. 
The attribution for the image above is: "Nymphaea tetragona (Water Lily)" by EvaK is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5

When to Attribute

Be sure to add an attribution - 

  • When adding an image to your OER Course Site (For example, a course site on the OpenLab). 

  • When creating a course text that you are going to distribute under an open license 

  • When adopting OER materials, and changing or "re-mixing" the content. 

Browse examples of attribution and best practices.

The Importance of Attribution

By attributing the work: 

  • The intellectual property rights of the author are preserved.

  • The provenance of the work is documented - this is fundamental to tracing the authority and relevance of your course materials.

  • Clear indication of exactly how the resource can be shared or customized based on the provisions of the Creative Commons (CC) license (for ex., Does the license allow commercial or non-commercial use?).

  • Any non-OER materials can be distinguished from CC licensed materials (Non-OERs might be library subscribed material or newspaper articles) so as not to confuse or misrepresent information to potential adopters.


Ursula C. Schwerin Library
New York City College of Technology
of the City University of New York
300 Jay Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Circulation: 718.260.5470
Reference: 718.260.5485

Privacy Policy