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Image Research Guide

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

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This guide includes databases, open-access repositories, resources for special topics, and helpful tools for navigating copyright and fair use for images.

Read the sections below and navigate to the tabs on the left to get started!

Why use image databases?

Image databases are useful for finding high-quality images of original materials, copyright information, and useful contextual information about artwork to support your research. Unlike internet search engines, which are often limited in retrieving high-quality images from repositories, image databases provide a more reliable source. They also eliminate the need to reference external websites that may not be the original image source.

Navigate through the sections below for guidance on selecting images for scholarly work.

Selecting Images

When writing papers, publications, and theses, it is recommended to use images with high resolution. To determine the resolution size, consider the pixel dimensions and resolution. A higher resolution indicates more pixels and more information or detail in the photo. Higher resolutions have more pixels per inch (PPI), resulting in greater pixel information and producing high-quality, crisp images. These same images can also be used for presentations and virtual exhibitions.

Consider whether a centered view of an artwork or a detailed view would help convey a point or topic in your research.

Your image source must have this information: titleartistdatemedium, and information about who owns the artwork (physical location like a museum or gallery). These details will also be needed in your image citations

Will the image be shared widely or used in the classroom? Is it for research or a thesis? Knowing your intent will guide you to understand Fair Use, Copyright, and the ethical use of images and visual media in scholarly work. If you have questions about copyright, please email the Visual Resources Curator.