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Finding and Using Images  

Last Updated: Nov 5, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Fine Arts Liaison

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Laura Gricius-West
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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.

This guide presents several ways for locating digital images, while emphasizing the importance of always citing the website or online article from which you retrieve images. It is not a comprehensive list of image resources, but instead an introduction to databases and websites that might be useful.

Some things to watch out for:

  • Irrelevant results.  Often, search engines retrieve images based on the text appearing near image file names.
  • Lack of advanced searching. What if you want to find photographs by Karl Lagerfeld instead of photographs of Karl Lagerfeld?
  • Inaccurate information.  Just because someone has posted an image doesn't mean that the information is correct.
  • Poor quality.  Watch for low resolution.  Also, be aware that amateur images may vary in quality.



    Search tips:

    • Look in specialized image databases first. These have more advanced 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.

    Ai Weiwei Pots


    From the exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, April 5-July 21, 2013 AI WEIWEI: ACCORDING TO WHAT? 

    Photo by Laura Gricius-West


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