Image Attribution

The Tools

I think it is very important to communicate the source of images, out of respect for those who own/have created/have made available the image, and also to give the readers the possibility to check the source. This very comprehensive pictures citing guide was very helpful when I was deciding how to quote the images. I also use TinEye and TinEye Chrome extension when in doubt over the image source.

Amazingly, I could not find a WordPress extension that would make the attribution of the images straightforward, so I have done a bit of PhP, JavaScript and CSS to develop my own module (available on GitHub).

What An Image Becomes When It is Correctly Attributed…

Complaint about the delivery of the wrong grade of copper (Ea-nasir tablet), cr. 1750 BC, Ur, Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia (now Tell el-Muqayyar, Iraq)
Complaint about the delivery of the wrong grade of copper (Ea-nasir tablet), cr. 1750 BC,
Ur, Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia (now Tell el-Muqayyar, Iraq)
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Just to illustrate my point: the image on your right-hand side is a clay tablet. Without the caption, it is hardly of any interest. With the caption, you can see that it appears to be the most ancient customer complaint ever put in writing! If we use the name of the trader whom it is addressed to (also in the caption) as a keyword, we can find the text of the complaint. It includes: “but you have treated me with contempt by sending them back to me empty-handed several times”.

Somehow this seems to resonate with the modern reality so much better than just an ornamented slab of clay! It is also useful to be reminded that there is more to Iraq than what is in the news.

… And What An Image Becomes When It Isn’t

And here is an example of how annoying it can be when you cannot find out what the image is. While working on my post about the Cyrus cylinder I saw an image relevant to another post of my blog, the one about the horsemen. Unfortunately, the conference prospectus that image was on contained no image credits whatsoever. Using reverse image search has yielded only one source of information about the seal shown on the image. It claims that the king depicted on the seal shown on the conference prospectus is Cyrus I. But the conference was about Cyrus the Great, the grandson of Cyrus I! Would not it be more logical to use an image of Cyrus I instead? Thus, the identification of the person on the image remains unclear.

'Cyrus the Great: Life and Lore' conference prospectus (detail), 2013, UCLA, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
'Cyrus the Great: Life and Lore' conference prospectus (detail), 2013,
UCLA, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
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Seal of Cyrus I, 600 - 580 BC, Persia, now Iran
Seal of Cyrus I, 600 - 580 BC,
Persia, now Iran
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