Everyone knows you need to credit the source for information or quotes you use in your work. What often falls into the category of “I didn’t even think about that” is citing the use of images that appear on the cover of a publication. Now that you know you should, how do you cite a book cover image correctly?
If crediting an artist for a book cover image has you stumped, read on to find out how to cite its source and get that properly cited research paper finished.
Citing a Book Cover Image Gives Credit to the Artist
Giving credit where credit’s due is the main reason that citations are included in academic and non-academic work. Researchers, artists, musicians, and others who put their thoughts and work out there for the world to see deserve recognition for their efforts.
Citations also provide important information for readers who want to learn more about a particular image or connect with other scholars to talk about an image.
The two most common citation styles are MLA and APA, which differ in format, but generally include the same information for a book cover image. The idea behind any citation is to include as much about the source as possible. For a book cover image, your citation should capture the following relevant information:
- Artist’s first and last name
- Title of the artwork
- Description of the book cover if title is unavailable
- Title of the book
- Author or editor’s name
- Edition (if applicable)
- Year of publication
- Location of the image on the book
If you don’t know all of these things about a book cover image, you should only include what you do know. Never make up or guess at any information you might be missing.
How to Cite a Book Cover Image in MLA
When you cite a cover image for a book, keep in mind that you are also citing the book itself. You should be able to find out details about the cover within the publication information on the back of the title page or on the book’s jacket or cover.
MLA provides a specific structure for a book art citation. Fill in the information that you know and pay close attention to the placement of periods and commas separating different components of the citation.
Book Cover Image Citation with Artist
Artist’s Last Name, First Name. Title of the Artwork. (Description of cover if title is unavailable). Designed by Designer First Name, Last Name (if applicable). Title of Book. Author or Editor’s Name, edition (if applicable), Publisher, publication year. Front cover.
If the artist is unknown, it is okay to use the Designer’s name in that spot. Follow the name with a comma and a description of their role in the image’s creation.
Book Cover Image Citation without Artist
Designer’s Last Name, First Name, designer. Title of the Artwork. (Description of cover if title is unavailable). Title of Book. Author or Editor’s Name, edition (if applicable), Publisher, publication year. Front cover.
If neither the artist nor designer is known, begin the citation with the title of the artwork.
How to Cite a Book Cover Image in APA
APA Citation Style includes similar information about an image used as a book cover, although the citation structure varies a bit from the MLA format.
Book Cover Image Citation with Artist
Artist’s Last Name, First Initial. (Year of book’s publication). Title of Artwork [Description of artwork]. Location of original artwork if applicable, City, State (abbreviated), Country. In Book Author’s name, Book Title (location in book). Publisher. (the words Original Work followed by date art was created).
If the artist is not known, begin the citation with the title of the artwork. If you don’t know the date the artwork was created, use [n.d] to indicate “no date.”
If the title is not known, simply include a detailed description of the artwork inside square brackets along with as much of the other information you can find about the art and the book.
Citations can be intimidating sometimes. Book cover images are no exception. Trying to dot the i’s and cross the t’s or, in this case, include all the information about the artwork is important. Though you might try, you may not always be able to find every piece of detail about a book cover. That’s okay as long as you put down everything you do know in the right format.