Skip to Main Content

Search for Images

Images make great primary sources: photographs, copies of artwork, or videos can help provide context and expand your argument.  Beyond searching YouTube for videos, the following Cox Library resources may be helpful.


Search the Library Catalog

Go to the Cox Library Catalog and look for books on your topic.  Once you find the book, click on the title to get fuller information.  Open the details tab and look for the physical description for either illustrations or ill. (sometimes maps will also be indicated).

Beyond the Catalog

In the databases, Artstor is a great source of images.  From their About page: “With approximately 300 collections composed of over 2.5 million images (and growing), scholars can examine wide-ranging material such as Native American art from the Smithsonian, treasures from the Louvre, and panoramic, 360-degree views of the Hagia Sophia in a single, easy-to-use resource.”

Many other databases, like CREDO, American History, World at War include images with their articles about various topics.

Good Websites

The following digital collections provide access to a variety of images in the public domain and under copyright. Please check the terms of use and image rights statements for more information.

  • American Memory, The Library of Congress
    American Memory provides free and open access to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.
  • Art Institute of Chicago Public Domain Images
    More than 44,000 digital images from the Art Institute of Chicago collections. Images are being added on an ongoing basis.
  • Brooklyn Museum Online Collections
    Brooklyn Museum's digital gallery contains over 90,000 digitized images from its collections. Users can browse, save, research, comment and tag. Wide-range of cultures, regions, and temporal periods represented.
  • Calisphere, University of California's digital primary sources
    The University of California's free public gateway to a world of primary sources. More than 200,000 digitized items — including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts — reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history.
  • Europeana
    Includes images from Europe's museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections.

  • Gallica Bibliothèque Nationale de France
    Documents and images from the Bibliothèque Nationale.
  • Getty Open Images
    Images of works in the J. Paul Getty Museum. The Getty makes available, without charge, all available digital images to which the Getty holds the rights or that are in the public domain to be used for any purpose. No permission is required.
  • Google Art Project
    Google's "collaboration with some of the world’s most acclaimed art museums to enable people to discover and view more than a thousand artworks online in extraordinary detail."
  • Harvard's Visual Information Access
    "VIA includes catalog records for objects or images owned, held or licensed by Harvard. Access to the catalog is open to the general public: all catalog records and thumbnail images are available to everyone. Access to higher resolution images is usually available to the Harvard community, is always determined by an individual repository, and is often dependent on copyright."
  • Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
    Contains catalog records and digital images representing a rich cross-section of still pictures held by the Prints & Photographs Division and, in some cases, other units of the Library of Congress.
  • Life Photo Archive hosted by Google
    Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive (1750s to today).
  • NASA Images
  • National Gallery of Art | NGA Images
    This repository of digital images documenting the National Gallery of Art collections allows users to search, browse, share, and download images believed to be in the public domain. More than 20,000 open access digital images up to 3000 pixels each are available free of charge for download and use.
  • National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration Library Photo Library
  • New York Public Library Digital Gallery
    Provides free and open access to over 800,000 images digitized from the The New York Public Library's vast collections, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs and more.
  • Paris Musées
    Hundreds of thousands of images in the public domain from Paris museums.
  • Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
    Online museum of its works. These high-resolution images can be freely used and remixed.
  • Réunion des musées nationaux et du Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées
    Over 470 000 photographs of works of art collected in the national and regional museums of France--museums such as the Louvre, Orsay, the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Picasso Museum.
  • Shared Shelf Commons (ARTstor)
    Shared Shelf Commons is a free, open-access library of images. Search and browse collections with tools to zoom, print, export, and share images. Includes some public domain Cornell collections.
  • Smithsonian Institution Collections Search
    Search archival, print and digital content.
  • Swiss National Library Image Documents
    Photographs, prints, posters, art, historic monuments preservation
  • VADS - online resource for visual arts
    Contains over 100,000 images that are freely available and copyright cleared for use in learning, teaching and research in the UK.
  • Victoria & Albert Museum
    Provides online access to over 265,000 images of objects in their collection.
  • Yale University Images
    Yale University Library Digital Images Database