Pretend that there is some image on the Internet that is commonly circulated, like a meme template involving a picture of someone's face. If the original thing had no source, but one (for whatever reason) needed the image and its citation, how would one try to cite the image?

2 Answers 2


I would cite such a source in the same way as an anonymous or unknown author's work would be cited. You should consult whatever style guide you're using for your current manuscript.

  • I'd do this but include a web address (including access time) where the image can be retrieved.
    – user9482
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 9:42

A citation does not need to point to the original source of the material; just a sufficiently authoritative reference. For instance, if you cite a mathematical result that dates back to the 18th century you can cite a textbook, not the original source where it appeared.

In this case, you can cite the Wikipedia page of the meme if it has one, or something like knowyourmeme.com (warning: possible time sink).

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