Monday, October 13, 2008

How To Cite Photographs From The Library of Congress

Where an online source dictates how they would like material from their collections cited, Shades uses that format. The Library of Congress has an online guide that is intended to help users prepare citations for electronic resources from their Web site.

The purpose of a works cited document is to acknowledge the source of information and give as much detail as possible to find the source of that information at a later date. Consistency is all important.

The Library of Congress gives Modern Language Association of America (MLA) and Chicago Styles Guide citation formats.

What is the difference between the MLA Style Guide and the Chicago Styles Guide? The MLA is often preferred in the fields of literature, arts, humanities, and in some other disciplines. The Chicago Style Guide of the University of Chicago Press is often preferred in history and many other disciplines. Shades uses the Chicago citation format.

Yes, there are automatic online citation formatting sites. I suggest you do not use them until you know how to properly format a citation yourself, or you will never be able to tell when they're wrong (and they are). One of the better automatic sites is BibMe. It requires registration, has the Chicago Style available and offers both automatic and manual input.

Chicago Citation Format For LOC Photographs:
(Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., sections 17.270, 8.206)


  1. Photographer’s last name, first name, middle initial (if given). [Include role after name, i.e. photographer.]
  2. “Photo Title.” (Title of a song, a poem or a single photograph is in quotes, not italics.) [Include brackets if given in bibliographic record.]
  3. Format (photograph).
  4. Publisher city: publishing company, copyright date (include c [circa] if given; if no date, use n.d.).
  5. Source (From Library of Congress in normal font), Collection name with dates (in italics).
  6. Medium (software requirement needed to access source ).
  7. URL (use bibliographic record URL or shorter digital id if available at bottom of bib record).
  8. Accessed date (in parenthesis).

Last name, First name Middle initial. Title of Work. Format. City: Publishing Company, copyright date. Source, Collection. Medium, http://…(accessed date).

Example from the "Did You Know Article."

Unknown, photographer. “[Clark sisters, five women, three-quarter length portraits, all facing front]” Daguerreotype. c1840-1860. From Library of Congress: Francis Benjamin Johnston collection; Daguerreotype collection. (accessed October 10, 2008).

The online bibliographic record for this photograph so that you may see where the information has been drawn from the record:

TITLE: [Clark sisters, five women, three-quarter length portraits, all facing front]


Original served by appointment only.

REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-USZ6-2003 (b&w film copy neg. post-1992)

RIGHTS INFORMATION: No known restrictions on publication.

SUMMARY: Grandmother and aunts of photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston.

MEDIUM: 1 photograph : half plate daguerreotype.

CREATED/PUBLISHED: [between 1840 and 1860]


Photographer unidentified.

Hallmark: 40.

Case: Rinhart 63.

Accompanying note in case on stationery of the Arts Club of Washington, in handwriting of Frances Benjamin Johnston identifies sitters (l-r): Aunt Harriet Allen, Aunt Ladonna Hoy, Grandma Joanette C-B, Aunt Julia Millard, Aunt Laura.

Gift; Frances Benjamin Johnston.

Forms part of: Francis Benjamin Johnston collection (Library of Congress).

Forms part of: Daguerreotype collection (Library of Congress).


Allen, Harriet Elizabeth Clark,--1818-1863.
Hoy, Ladonia Charlotte Clark,--b. 1827.
Benjamin, Joanette Clark,--1814 or 1815-1880.
Millard, Juliaette Alcesta Clark,--b. 1820.
Palmer, Laura Miles Clark,--b. 1822.


Portrait photographs 1840-1860.
Group portraits 1840-1860.
Daguerreotypes 1840-1860.

PART OF: Daguerreotype collection (Library of Congress)
Frances Benjamin Johnston collection (Library of Congress)

REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

DIGITAL ID: (b&w film copy neg. post-1992) cph 3d02003

CONTROL #: 2004664300

Always Cite Your Sources!


Blogger The Ebon Swan said...

Excellent article. A MLA is a resource that can easily be picked up in book stores, particularly if it's a college town. I had to replace mine a few years out of college just to have a more updated version, but it's a must-have skill for serious researchers.

October 13, 2008 at 2:22 PM  
Blogger Lidian said...

Excellent post, fM - just what I need. I am bookmarking this for future reference!

October 13, 2008 at 3:31 PM  

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