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Information Literacy Modules
  • What is a "born digital" image?

    We call an image "born digital" if:

    • It was created (e.g. digital camera, computer screen capture program, desktop scanner) in digital form for the Web
    • Or you do not know where the image itself (not the place or object in it) is physically stored

  • How do I evaluate an image creator?

    Search the creator's name to evaluate how his portfolio, expertise and point of view relate to your subject. A credible artist or photographer may have:

    • First-hand knowledge of a place or people
    • Seen or participated in events
    • A degree or certification in the medium used
    • A body of work, exhibitions or publications in a related field

  • How do I evaluate a "born digital" photograph?

    A photograph can be both a visual record and a fine art. Its meaning is shaped by the photographer's point of view and the background we bring to it.

    To "read" and evaluate a photograph, ask:

    • What do I see (observations)?
    • What might it mean (inferences)?
    • How does it make me feel?
    • Why might this photo have been taken?
    • What might be the photographer's intent (e.g., to persuade, analyze, record or document, or as an artistic expression)?
    • What is out of the picture? What might be missing?
    • What other questions might I ask?

  • Has my photograph been manipulated?

    Personal and professional photographs are frequently staged, cropped or altered:

    • For dramatic or aesthetic impact
    • To correct imperfections (e.g., red eye)
    • To deceive the viewer

    One test for an altered photo is to check for metadata (date, time, focal length, camera name, white balance, flash, etc.) that is stored with the photograph. The absence of metadata is sometimes evidence of photo editing. To display the metadata of a photo:

    • Submit the URL of your image to an Exif Reader
    • In Flickr, choose "View Exif info"

    A second test is to locate the small white dot, a reflection of the light source, in the eyes of each person in the photo. If the shape, color or position of the dot differs, the photograph is a composite.

  • How do I cite a born digital image on the open Web?

    Gather elements from the image's Web page or the referring page:
    • Name of website
    • Title of image (if untitled, provide a description)
    • Permanent URL
    • Date of e-publication or copyright
    • Publisher of website

    If given:

    • Photographer or artist
    • Identifier / image ID

  • How do I cite a born digital image in a subscription database?

    Gather elements from the vendor's record:

    • Database name
    • Title of image
    • Identifier / image ID
    • Date of e-publication or copyright
    • Date of access
    • Photographer or artist
    • Name of publisher / vendor
    • Permanent URL,if given

  • How do I cite an image that I found using a search engine?

    A search engine's result points to a source on the Web.

    Cite the source, not the search engine result.

    • Click the URL link (Bing) or "Website for this image" (Google)
    • Cite the Web page on which the image is found