Answered By: Victoria Peters
Last Updated: Nov 30, 2022     Views: 13

Attribution is a similar process to citing academic works in a paper, but there are some key differences. The following table outlines some of the ways in which citations and attribution are similar and different:


Attribution: This table was adapted by Abbey Elder from “Citation vs. Attribution” by Lauri Aesoph, licensed CC BY 4.0.

Citation Attribution
Purpose is academic (e.g. avoiding plagiarism) Purpose is legal (e.g. following licensing regulations)
Does NOT typically include licensing information for the work Typically includes licensing information for the work
Used to quote or paraphrase a limited portion of a work Used to quote or paraphrase all or a portion of a work
Can paraphrase, but cannot typically change the work’s meaning Can change the work under Fair Use or with advance permission
(e.g., under most CC licenses)
Many citation styles are available
(e.g., APA, Chicago, and MLA)
Attribution statement styles are still emerging, but there are some defined best practices
Cited resources are typically placed in a reference list Attribution statements are typically found near the work used
(e.g., below an image)