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Visual Resources Guide

Use this guide to find various resources for your image research in the visual arts.

Image Resources

General Databases


Books are often the only source to find an image. Using a book as your primary source could give you more information about an image and give you context to another scholar's work. Navigate to the library catalog and follow the search strategies below to find images in books. 

  • Search for 'illus' as a keyword (include the quote marks around the keyword).
  • Select Advanced Search, filter by Subject Term, and search for pictorial or illustrations.


Article databases allow you to limit your search to articles containing images or to sort your search result to highlight articles containing images.

  • Humanities International Complete

    Search specifically for articles containing images. Enter your search terms, type 'illustration', and select the type of image you're looking for in the bottom right.

  • JSTOR 

    Search results to highlight articles containing images.  

Special Topics

  • ArtxHistory
    ArtxHistory is an inclusive open-access resource of images, videos, and scholarship from modern to contemporary art. The mission is to celebrate and highlight BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and intersectional artists, and to decenter the dominant white male, heteronormative, advantaged artists.
  • Berg Fashion Library
    Access images from V&A Museum's internationally renowned fashion collection and other sources. Includes the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion and content from other electronic books and journals related to dress and fashion.
  • The Costume Institute: Metropolitan Museum of Art
    The Costume Institute's collection of more than 35,000 costumes and accessories represents five continents and seven centuries of fashionable dress, regional costumes, and accessories for men, women, and children from the 15th century to the present.
  • Fashion History Timeline
    Use this open-source collection to learn about fashion and dress history. Resources include artworks, garments, and films in fashion from over a hundred museums and libraries. VADS Access over 140,000 images from art, fashion design, and textile collections from across the United Kingdom.
  • VADS
    Access over 140,000 images from art, fashion design, and textile collections from across the United Kingdom.
  • Victoria & Albert Museum: Costume
    An extensive digital collection of costumes and accessories from the mid-18th century to the present
  • Vogue Archive
    Index of articles, images, and advertisements in Vogue.

Additional Resources

  • Life Photo Archive
    Browse the Life Magazine photo archive from the 1750s to the present. 
  • Duke Digital Collections
    The Advertising and Consumer Culture collections cover American advertising from the 1850s through the 1950s.