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Finding and Using Visual Resources

Art and Cultural Resources

Select Image Databases

More image collections can be found on the Databases & Other Catalogs page.

Images from books and articles

Books are sometimes the only place to find an image.  To search the library catalog for books with images, the following strategies are good to try:

  • search for 'ill' or 'illus' as a keyword (both are abbreviations for 'illustrations')
  • search for 'pictorial' or 'illustrations' as a subject term


Similarly, many article databases allow you to limit your search to articles containing images or to sort your search result to highlight articles containing images.

Humanities Abstracts is an example of a multi-disciplinary database that allows you to search specifically for articles containing images.  Enter your search terms and then enter 'illustration,' selecting 'Physical Description' in the dropdown menu. 

JSTOR is an example of a multi-disciplinary database that allows you to sort your search results to highlight articles containing images.  

Fashion & design


VADS   Art, fashion design and textiles.

Berg Fashion Library   Includes the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion as well as content from other electronic books and journals related to dress and fashion. Also includes images from V&A Museum's internationally renowned fashion collection and other sources.

Victoria & Albert Museum: Fashion, Jewellery and Accessories  European fashion from the 17th century to the present.

Vogue Archive  Index to articles, images and advertisements in Vogue.

The Costume Institute: Metropolitan Museum of Art   The Costume Institute's collection of more than thirty-five thousand costumes and accessories represents five continents and seven centuries of fashionable dress, regional costumes, and accessories for men, women, and children, from the fifteenth century to the present.

News & pop culture

Other Online Resources

Life Photo Archive  Photographs from the Life Magazine photo archive (most of which were never published) from the 1750s to today.

Duke Digital Collections The Advertising and Consumer Culture collections cover American advertising from the 1850s through the 1950s.