Sources should be cited with all data visualizations so that users understand where the underlying data comes from.
When cited properly, sources help expert users access the underlying data for their own purposes. While many federal agencies have their own guidance for formatting sources (see below examples), you can start by ensuring that your source statement:
- Indicates the agency that provided the data.
- Indicates the program(s) that provided the data.
- Indicates the date of the source data.
- If publicly accessible online, links to the source data.
Sources should be the last element included in a data visualization, ideally below the description or the visualization itself.
Below is a growing list of source citation guidance from organizations across the federal government: