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Research Guides

INI101: Blogging the just city

This guide supports the class taught by Prof. Shawn Micallef.

How to Find Images & Best Practices for Citing Sources

When you are posting material in a public site, you need to be careful about violating other people's copyright. Generally, you should be using public domain or Creative Commons images.

For more information:

The following sites have tips on the type of information you need for you citing images in various citation styles: MLA, APA & Chicago / Turabian style: 

Ensure your image meet Accessibility Standards

Alternative text for images

Alternative text (“alt text”) is a machine-readable tag that describes an image in words if the image cannot be displayed, for example for someone using a screen reader.

Only informative images need alt text. A decorative image that provides no information and only serves an aesthetic purpose does not need alt text (some applications allow marking such image as "decorative").


How to write alt text for images

  • The recommended number of characters for alt text is 125 characters or less for compatibility with popular screen readers.
  • All alt text should end with a “.” so that the screen reader will pause after reading.
  • Examples of image clues to write about in alt text:
    • If the image contains text, write it out verbatim in alt test
    • The placement of objects in the image
    • Colours
    • Names of people in the image
    • Clothes, if they are important details
    • Emotions (e.g. smiling)


Complex images

Complex images contain substantial information, for example:

  • Graphs or charts (e.g. flow charts, organizational charts)
  • Illustrations or diagrams
  • Maps or other geographical or topographical images

The recommended alternative to writing about complex images is to write both a short and long description:

  • The short description in alt text first identifies the image, and then indicates the location of the long description. E.g. alt="Graph of quarterly temperature changes. Discussion available below.".
  • The long description on the page contains essential information that is conveyed by the image.


Where to add alt text in MS Word

►On Mac:

Select the image, right-click or Control and select "Edit Alt Text":

Edit Alt Text menu in MS Word on a Mac.


►On Windows:

Select the image, right-click and select "Edit Alt Text".

►►IMPORTANT: always add alt text in the "Description" field, not in the "Title" field.

Alt text menu in MS Word on Windows.


Source of this Content:

UofT Libraries Scholarly Communications & Copyright Office "Making Thesis Accessible" in Submit and Publish Your Thesis Guide,  

Search Creative Common Sites for Images

Search Image Collections in Public Domain (Gratis & No Copyright Restrictions)