Guidelines for Describing Visual Resources

Goals and Scope

These guidelines are designed to guide authors and editors creating description of visual resources in arts and humanities publications. They provide broad guidance that may apply to any image in a publication—including, for example, works of art, documentary photographs, reproductions of print materials, and digital renderings.

As a guide for writing in the arts and humanities, this document reflects a humanistic concern for the interpretation of meaning, creative expression, cultural contingency, and the specific and the non-reproducible. It therefore outlines parameters for effective description without prescribing standards of practice.

For guidance on describing tables, charts, diagrams, and other informational image types common to the scientific disciplines, please see DIAGRAM Image Guidelines. For detailed and discipline-specific guidance on describing particular genres of images, see Existing resources for description.

Table of Contents

  1. Glossary
  2. Basic Principles
  3. Examples
  4. Exceptions and Special Cases