Michigan State University

Bibliographic Tips

Essential elements for seeking copyright permissions

We need bibliographic documentation the first time materials are used, so some research may be required. In subsequent years, we generate permissions requests from stored data, so faculty generally do not have to provide further information.

Scholarly references, depending on the citation style chosen, may not contain all the information required for seeking copyright clearance. The following list gives the details required to clear material from each type of source. "Page range" always refers to material used. Page numbers are essential. The Copyright Clearance Center and most rights holders do not accept permissions requests without them.


  • Author(s)/editor(s), title, edition, publisher, year of publication, page range. Give standard number (ISBN) if available.
  • If citing a chapter, include: chapter authors and title, page range.
  • If work is edited, check for acknowledgments: a chapter may originally have been published elsewhere; permission must be sought from original source.
  • If available, include a copy of title and copyright pages.


  • Author(s), title of article, volume, year of publication, page range. Give standard number (ISSN) if available.


  • Author(s), title of article, month, year of publication, page range.


  • As magazine. Give volume/issue number if available.
  • Provide contact information if known; standard bibliographical sources often do not catalogue newsletters.

Newspaper/serials (e.g., Time, Newsweek)

  • Author(s), title of article, month/day/year of publication, page number or range.

Figures, tables, charts

  • Complete citation to the work where the material appears, including page number. Provide figure or table number and title if available. Include figure, table, or chart legend in the copy.
  • Always check desired material for items originally published elsewhere or independently credited—figures, tables, charts, photos, art. Separate permissions must be sought for these items; check figure legends, acknowledgments, credits, footnotes, bibliographies, and both front and back matter for the information. It is frequently necessary to consult the original source to determine the page upon which the material originally appeared.