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Biological Sciences

We have two library guides that deal with aspects of citing and writing. The Citation Help one offers guides to different citation styles, including APA and CSE Name-Year style, which is popular in the sciences. The Zotero Guide is a guide to using Zotero citation management software, which helps you keep track of literature and properly cite it in a paper.

Images and Citing

"Inclusion of print images in a paper is acceptable if that paper is not copied and distributed outside of the institution." (

Places to find royalty-free images (free to use)

Creative Commons
USFWS National Digital Library
Wikimedia Commons - many royalty-free images
NYPL (New York Public Library) Public Domain Digital Collections - for example, search “rabbit” in top corner and limit to Show Only Public Domain

Science Photo Library (SPL)

  • Use general search terms
  • "World's leading provider of science photos"
  • >100,000 science, technology & industry, space & astronomy, history of science & medicine and more images

Colourbox (sign-up required, free)
National Geographic stock photos (from Getty)

Getty's Open Content Program images (works in the J. Paul Getty Museum's collections.)

  • Use the search box to narrow the results
  • "The Getty makes available, without charge, all available digital images to which the Getty holds the rights or that are in the public domain to be used for any purpose. No permission is required. ... Those available as open content images are identified with a "Download" link."

Google Advanced Image Search

  • Under Usage Rights, choose either of the "free to use share or modify" options


Flickr Advanced Search

  • Choose "Modifications allowed" if you want to make changes to the image

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) "Science as Art" set
Pics4Learning - copyright friendly images for education
Images Canada

Other stock image sources (some royalty-free, with Creative Commons licensing)


Citing & Mentioning Figures in Your Paper 

  • Citing: general guidelines (CSE style is used in these examples, but you can adapt them to other styles)

    • Articles/books: If using the article/book in your paper, you will already have an entry for it in the reference list. In the caption, provide a citation to that entry as you would within your text, adding a page number.
    • Web/image databases: No references are necessary in the bibliography/reference list BUT you need to mention the source in the caption.
      Format: Author(s)date. Title. [accessed yyyy Mmm dd]. URL.
  • Citing: in your paper: If starting a sentence with the word "figure", use the full word (i.e. Figure). Within the sentence use one of Fig or Figure, but not both.


A sample "paper":

lorem ipsum lorem ipsum lorem ipsum lorem ipsum mountain hare (Fig. 1) lorem ipsum lorem while Fig. 2 is a six-storey tall hot air balloon in the shape of the Energizer Bunny lorem ipsum. Figure 2 lorem ipsum lorem ipsum.

Figure 1. Animals can seem to have personalities.
(McPherson P. 2009. Rabbit. [accessed 2018 Oct 2].






Figure 2. An extremely large hot air balloon.
(Prizmatic. 2008. Rocky Mountain Balloon Festival. [accessed 2018 Oct 2].

lorem ipsum lorem ipsum lorem ipsum lorem ipsum lorem ipsum lorem ipsum lorem ipsum lorem ipsum