A student I was helping at the reference desk recently asked me to examine a slide presentation he and a classmate were working on for an assignment. On one slide, there appeared a bulletted item that was clearly not written by the students. When I mentioned to the student that she should consider putting quote marks around the quotation and in some fashion identify the source, she seemed completely nonplussed, as though there was no need to indicate in this slide medium content which material was written by others. That got me to thinking that I haven’t really seen any guidelines or best practices about how to indicate in a slide that text or ideas came from another source.
I’m curious to hear what sort of advice instructors give to students about citing sources for slide presentations. While it easy to envision a final slide that is a reference list, it seems to be trickier to develop best practices for identifying sources in slides that make up the main part of a presentation. Should you use numbered notes? An author-date notation set in parentheses? A source note at the bottom of the slide? To what extent can the rules that are delineated in the major style guides (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) be applied to slide presentations? Do these rules, which were created to support the needs of scholars writing books, articles, and reports, work well in a medium like slide presentations, where there is a great deal of flexibility in the way text can be presented?