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Johns Hopkins University The Sheridan Libraries

Finding Images  

A guide to finding and using images in all areas of study
Last Updated: Aug 28, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Getting Started

Myst Telescope by Brapke, via Flickr

Searching for Images

Unlike searching for text sources where the subject is often relatively easy to describe, putting images into words can be challenging.

Below are general tips for finding useful images.

Search tips:

  • Look in specialized image databases first.  These have more advance image searches than Google.
  • Look in journal indexes for illustrated articles.  Many articles in periodicals have great illustrations.
  • Search for illustrated books in our library online catalog.
  • If at first you don't succeed, try again:
  • Are there other terms that describe your subject?
  • Are there more concrete symbols that represent abstract concepts (e.g. ""heart" or "kiss" instead of "love")?
  • If you aren't turning up many results,  try more general terms.

Web Resources

  • Flickr Commons
    Image collections from libraries, museums, and archives from around the world.
  • Flickr Creative Commons
    Millions of photos created by Flickr users are available under different kinds of Creative Commons licenses.
  • Google Image Search
    Search for images on the web.
  • morgueFile
    A public image archive for creatives, by creatives.
  • Smithsonian Galaxy of Images
    Search the collections of materials digitized by the Smithsonian Libraries. Note: the site prohibits the use of images as content for online courses.
  • World Images
    A database of images in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences, from all over the globe.

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Special Thanks

This research guide was authored by Adrienne Lai, an Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) intern at the Eisenhower Library, Fall 2009.

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