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MLA Citation Guide: Images (Figures) & Tables

Images (Figures) / Tables: Ground Rules

In MLA style, a 'figure' is "illustrative visual material other than a table—for example, a photograph, map, drawing, graph, or chart" (Behind the Style). A 'table' comprises columns and rows of text and/or numbers.


There are some variations between citing figures and tables, but they both follow the same basic rules. Both have to include a:

  • Label and Number
  • Caption and/or Source Information 

Each of these components is doing something different, and is positioned above and below your figure/table, according to a which type you are using.

 

Note: Every figure you include has to have a matching entry in your Works Cited list (exceptions explained in "FIGURES" example)

Note: Position your figures or tables as close as possible to the text to which they relate.

Images / Figures: Examples

Below are the four most frequently used forms for citing images (figures). These can be used to create entries in a Works Cited list and/or to provide the appropriate bibliographical materials to accompany figures you might include in your project.

Examples

Artist Lastname, Firstname. Title of the Artwork. Date of Composition, Name of the Institution that

houses the artwork, Database, URL.  (omit http:// or https://)


Example:

Lichtenstein, Roy. Foot and Hand. 1964, Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, Artstor,

library.artstor.org/#/asset/LICHTENSTEIN_1039656284.

In text: (Lichtenstein)

Follow as the "Image / Artwork from a Database" example, and add:  Accessed Day Month Year.

 

Artist Lastname, Firstname. Title of the Artwork. Date of Composition, Name of the Institution that

houses the artwork. URL. (omit http:// or https://)  Accessed Day Month Year.


Example:

Gamble, Sidney.  Man on Rope Bridge. 1917, Duke University Libraries:

            Digital Collections. repository.duke.edu/dc/gamble/gamble_060A_32

            Accessed 23 Dec. 2019.

In text: (Gamble)

Examples

Artist Lastname, Firstname. Title of the Artwork. Date of Composition,

            Name of the Institution that houses the artwork, City of the Institution.


Example:

Sargent, John Singer.  Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau). 1883-84,

            Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

In text: (Sargent)

Follow as for the "Physical Work of Art" example, adding information about the book:

 

Artist Lastname, Firstname. Title of the Artwork. Date of Composition, Name of the Institution that

houses the artwork, City of the Institution. Title of the Book, Publisher, Date of publication,

Page number(s).


Example:

Itten, Johannes. The Encounter. 1916, Kunsthaus, Zurich. The Prestel Dictionary of Art and Artists

in the Twentieth Century, Prestel, 2000, p.165.

In text: (Itten)

FIGURES

Photographs, artwork, maps, graphs, charts, etc. should be labeled Figure (usually abbreviated as Fig.), given a number (start at '1' and continue), and a caption

Captions can be short, in which case you would add a full citation to your Works Cited list.  However, if the caption includes complete bibliographical information about the source, and the source is not cited elsewhere in your text, you do not have to create an entry in your Works Cited list. Capitalize captions as you would any title in MLA style -- do not use 'all caps'!

Labels and captions for figures are usually:

  • Below the figure
  • Aligned with the left margin, maintaining one inch margins throughout
  • Double-spaced between elements

____________________________________________________________________________

In the example below, because all the citation components are provided, an entry in the Works Cited list would not be needed.  An alternative is to provide a shorter caption: Fig 1.  Dorothea Lange's "Destitute Pea Pickers."  This shorter caption would need a full citation in the Works Cited list.

Example:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig. 1. Dorothea Lange. Destitute Pea Pickers in California, a 32-year-old Mother of Seven

Children1936, Getty Images,  www.gettyimages.com/pictures/destitute-pea-pickers-in-california-a-32-

year-old-mother-of-news-photo-90768141. Accessed 10 Jan. 2020. 

TABLES

Tables include columns of text and/or numbers. Tables are labeled as 'Table' and given a number, followed by a short title. If desired, a note can be added below the table, and is indicated with a lower case super-script letter, starting with.a

In this case, the bibliographic information is added below the table, starting with the word 'Source:' 

______________________________________________________________________________

Example:

Table 1

Social Media Use Over Time (2013-2019) a

Source: "Social Media Fact Sheet: Social Media use Over Time." Pew Research Center, 12 June 2019,

www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/social-media/. Accessed 12 Jan. 2020.

 

a. This table includes responses for 2013 through 2019 to the question: "How Many Social Media Sites Do You Use?" The complete table lists responses from 2005 through 2019.