From historical photographs to diagrams of chemical processes to reproductions of famous artworks, images can add not only color but also substance to any paper or presentation. Until recently, students wishing to incorporate images in their research projects needed to make photocopies of pictures and illustrations from books and journal articles, often losing color and quality in the process. This is still necessary at times, since books and journals contain many unique illustrations that would be hard to find on the Internet. But with the increased availability of images online, whether on websites or article databases, it is much easier to capture high-resolution digital images and transfer them into programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft PowerPoint for editing and eventual inclusion in your work.
The guide below discusses several ways for locating digital images, while emphasizing the importance of always citing the website or online article from which you retrieve images.
Many of the e-reference databases at Geisel Library allow searching for images. Follow the directions below each database to limit your searches to images only. When you find an illustration that you want to download, right-click on it, select "Save Image/Picture As" and save the file as a JPEG. Be sure to write down all the standard bibliographic citation information for the article (author, title, publication date, etc.), so that you can cite the source of the image.
Gale Virtual Reference Library
Click "Advanced Search," enter in your keywords, and check the box before "to document with images."
Click on the "Image" tab to limit your keyword searches to images only.
Encyclopaedia Britannica Online
Once you are in an entry on your topic click on the "Images" link on the left side of the screen.
Oxford Art Online
Use the "Search for Images Only" option.
Several of our databases contain rich repositories of searchable, downloadable images. To search their image collections follow the instructions below.
Academic Search Premier
Use to: locate images from popular magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals.
To search for images: hover over the word "More" in the blue bar at top of the screen, then select "Images" from the drop-down menu. Images are searchable by keyword; search limiters regarding image type (i.e. diagram, map, color photography) are also available. From the search results screen you will need to click on the thumbnails to view larger images and right-click on the image to download.
Use to: locate architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, and decorative arts images from a number of famous museum collections.
To search for images: type keywords in the Basic Search box (or use the Advanced Search to apply limiters), and follow the onscreen instructions to view and download images.
Curriculum Resource Center
Use to: locate photographs, charts, timelines, and maps. Database is intended to assist student teachers in lesson plan creation, material is aimed at the middle school and high school level, use the images to supplement college level research and presentations.
To search for images: enter in your keyword(s), click search, and then browse through the list of available images. Right click on the image to save it as a JPEG.
New York Times (Historical)
Use to: locate images that appeared in the New York Times since 1851, including advertisements, cartoons, and photographs.
To search for images: click on the "Advanced" tab, select "More Search Options" and then select the desired document type from the drop-down menu. To download images you need to first save a PDF of the article. Next, open up the saved PDF, go to "Tools," select "Select & Zoom," and then choose the "Snapshot Tool." Use the Snapshot tool to select the image, then paste the selected image into Word or PowerPoint.
Oxford Art Online
Use to: search to search images of fine arts including ceramics, photographs, paintings, and sculpture.
To search for images: use the "Search for images only" box to run a keyword search. Images can be enlarged and saved to your computer by right clicking on the image. You can also use the Image Search on the Advanced Search page to search among 40,000 art images available on the websites of museums worldwide.
Of course, the most extensive resource for photographs, illustrations, and other images in electronic form is the Internet. Any image can be easily downloaded for use in a paper or presentation by right-clicking on it, selecting "Save Picture/Image As", and saving the file as a JPEG.
Make sure that you write down the URL, page author, page title, and other identifying information for the webpage so that you can properly document the source of the image. Also look for any information indicating who is responsible for the image (for example, the name of the photographer or illustrator) so that you can give that person or organization their proper credit. If the website specifies any restrictions or conditions on using the images, please abide by them.
The following is a selection of websites worth exploring.
Emergence of Advertising in America (Duke)
These companion websites from Duke University provide over 15,000 searchable images of U.S. magazine and newspaper advertisements from 1850-1955.
American Memory Project (Library of Congress)
The American Memory project consists of over 100 collections of digitized documents, photographs, and other items, which can be searched with keywords or browsed by topic. Photographic collections cover many aspects of American history, including the women's suffrage movement, the Great Depression, the Civil War, and the Japanese American internment during World War II.
This free indexing page provides links to over 180,000 art images maintained on over 2,000 art websites (including the sites of many museums and collections from around the world). Search by artist, title, or museum, and click on the results to directly access the digital images of relevant artworks.
Bing Images Search
Search for images on the Internet through Bing's image search. Use Bing's limiters and related search features to refine your image search.
Galaxy of Images (Smithsonian Institution)
Search through images found in the Smithsonian Institution Libraries' book and manuscript collection. To locate images, search by keyword or browse by subject area.
Google Image Search
Search for photographs, illustrations, and artworks from across the Internet, using Google's well-known keyword search engine.
Government Resources for Science Images (Library of Congress)
This page links to the best government resources for viewing and downloading science-related images, including NASA photographs, the CDC's public health image gallery, and image collections from the US Geological Survey. Many are in the public domain and can be freely used for any purpose.
IMLS Digital Content Gateway
This database allows you to simultaneously search the digital collections of numerous museums, libraries, and archives that have received grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Add the word "image" to your search to restrict your search to photographs and illustrations. Click the image titles to access the original images on their host websites.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog
Perhaps the largest gateway to images on the Web, this catalog enables keyword searching of over one million digital images from the Library of Congress's photographic collections. You can also search within specific collections.
LIFE Photo Archive: Google
Hosted by Google, the LIFE Photo Archive provides access to photographs published in LIFE Magazine. Images are best found by performing keyword searches rather than browsing by decade.
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
NARA has two sites with digital images: their Flickr site which contains images dealing mainly with the environment and their online collections pages which focus on American history, including Native Americans, World War II, and the American West.
New York Public Library Digital Gallery
The NYPL has undertaken a massive effort to digitize its collection of images, resulting in this online database of over 500,000 prints, photographs, illuminated manuscripts, maps, and vintage posters. You can search by keyword or browse by subject.
OAIster is a catalog of digital archival resources that are housed at cultural and higher education institutions throughout the United States. OAIster works in a similar fashion to a library catalog. To limit your search to images, enter in your keyword(s) and select "image" from the list of resource type limiters.
Web Gallery of Art
This "virtual museum" offers digital images of European artwork spanning the 12th to mid-19th centuries. You can search by artist or title, and click on the thumbnail images to view large browser-filling versions of each painting or sculpture.
As repeatedly stressed in the preceding sections, it is just as important to document your image sources as it is to cite the books and articles you used in your research. Documenting a source acknowledges that the photograph, illustration, diagram, etc. is the rightful intellectual property of its creator. Normally, the citation for an image is placed immediately beneath the image in your paper or PowerPoint slide, NOT in the bibliography as with other source materials. The form of the citation will depend on the type of resource (book, article, or website) and the citation style requested by your professor (APA, MLA, Chicago style, or another format). See the links below for guidance.
Use the library's citation guides to determine how to cite the book, article, website, etc. from which the image was taken.
If you plan to use the image in a class presentation, term paper, or course-related project, you do not need to obtain copyright clearance. For such educational or instructional uses, you only need to document the image source as described above. However, be sure to comply with any stipulations on the provider's website that restrict the use, reproduction, distribution, or modification of images.