Using "image copy" correctly

I’ve tried my question previously and received one reply that did not help me understand my issue. All my sources are from things published in the 1800s or early 1900s in newspapers, journals, books. I have online sources of newspaper articles (via,, etc.) online journal fiction and non-fiction pieces (found at places like Internet Archive, Hathitrust,org, etc.), online books (found at places like Google Books). I see in EE 14.16 that a journal article archived online is identified both in the First Reference Note and Source List as “image copy.” In 14.22 a newspaper article online image is identified in the First Ref. Note as “image copy” but in the Source List Entry it does not say this. Why not? In the Quick Check model, p. 661, for image copies of online publications like from Google Books, it uses “digital images” in the First Reference Note and “image copy” in the Source List. I just don’t understand when/why one uses “image copy” vs. “digital images” – most of my sources are found online, all are digital copies of the original publications housed in various databases or archives. I have spent hours trying to understand this in reviewing EE but I just can’t. Please explain simply. I would be so grateful!

Submitted byEEon Mon, 11/23/2020 - 18:20

Hello bdodge47:

Sometimes asking a question in different ways helps us to better understand your puzzlement. I’ll try again.

Q1: Why does 14.16 cite the “image copy” in both the First Reference Note and the Source List when 14.22 does not?

A: 14.16 covers a journal article. 14.22 deals with a newspaper. Both are imaged online.  If you wish, for the newspaper as well as the journal article, you may indicate in both the source list and the reference note that you have used an online image by XYZ Provider. 

EE’s examples show the elements that are essential in each case. The differences in these two cases are as follows:

  • Newspapers (as in 14.22) are often imaged by multiple providers or they’re widely available on microfilm in many libraries. In the source list, a standard citation to a newspaper will simply name the newspaper and date. If you want to also name the provider that’s optional.
  • Academic journals (as in 14.16) are not widely available. The print version is usually available only in academic libraries, which may or may not be open to the public. To make these journal articles publicly available, they are archived by a provider such as JSTOR (cited in 14.16) and, unless they have passed out of copyright, they are almost always available only from that one authorized provider. In some cases, authors and editors add addendas to academic journal articles and the JSTOR version may include the supplement while the original printed article doesn’t. Therefore, even in the source list entry, it is essential to be explicit about what we used and where we found it.

As an analogy, if we cite an ordinary book,

  • our source list entry does not have to include the name of the library where we found the book because it is widely available. Our reference note does not have to include the name of the library, although we can add it in our working notes if that will help us going forward with our project.
  • If we cite a manuscript that is only available in one archive, then our source list entry as well as the reference note would identify the archive because the manuscript’s availability is limited to that archive.

Q2: Why does the QC Model on p. 661 use both phrases “digital images” and “image copy.”

A: Both are “bridge words” that introduce the second layer of the citation. We choose bridge words that explain the situation.  Bridge words are not rigid, formulaic, or prescriptive.  The phrases you question are interchangeable.

This might be a good time to point out EE 2.1.  “Citation is an art, not a science. … Once we have learned the principles of citation, we have both an artistic license and a researcher’s responsibility to adapt those principles to fit …”   The three things we absolutely need to learn are theses:

  • which elements are essential for specific materials and circumstances.
  • the logical sequence of elements in a citation, so that details that explain each other will stay together and unrelated things are not interjected.
  • the standard punctuation that separates parts of a citation, because punctuation is a silent language that communicates groupings of data and separations of disparate things.

Beyond that, citations are flexible.  Wording is flexible—not rigid. We adapt to the situation at hand, thoughtfully choosing which words best explain what it is we are using. And then, if we submit our work to a publisher, we may end up with “digital image” in one place and “image copy” in another, simply because the typesetter has to make the text fit the line space available.