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Images: Where to Find Images

A multidisciplinary guide to searching, evaluating & referencing different types of images

Where to find images


It's important that you look for images in the correct places (don't just do a Google image search!) to make sure that the images you find are high-quality and easy to reference. Below are some recommended sources to find images. 

Image databases


The Library subscribes to several image databases with high-quality images that you can search for. There are also free databases online which have a range of images you can search. 

General image databases

Discipline-specific image databases



Searching or browsing websites with image collections is a good way of finding stock images, graphs, diagrams & infographics. 

Stock images & videos

Graphs & infographics

Government bodies & organisations often produce graphs & infographics from data and statistics they've gathered. Searching those government & organisation websites can help with locating images on the topic you're researching. 

Museum collections


Museum collections are a great place to search for images, especially if you're interested in photographs, artwork, artefacts, objects or drawings. 

You can search the websites of different museums depending on what type of style of image you're looking for. 

For example: 

  • MOMA if you're interested in modern art
  • Maritime museums for nautical images
  • Art galleries for paintings & photographs

Below are some suggested museum collections that have extensive online collections covering a wide variety of image types. 

Images in other sources


Some of the best places to find high-quality images is within other sources like books, journals and magazines. Since those sources are already published works, they are more reliable and much easier to reference. 

Searching for images in books

Search in the Library Catalogue for books.

You can search your image keywords, or search for a famous artist, designer or architect to see books with collections of their works. 

Under the 'Details' section of the book record, check the 'Format' of the book to see if it has pictures (indicated by the abbreviation 'ill.'). Some books also tell you if the pictures are in colour.

Book details showing Format section indicating "ill (some col.)"

You can also browse books. The Library books are organised using the Dewey Decimal System.

Check out the Wikipedia page on Dewey Decimal Classes to find out where books on your topic would be.

Searching for images in journals & magazines

Journals and magazines are both classified in the library catalogue as 'periodicals'. You can find both journals and magazines via the Library's Journal Search. 

When searching for journals, search for a subject or topic instead of your image keywords (e.g. fashion, landscape architecture, animation).

Check the format to see if the journal or magazine contains images (indicated by the 'ill.' abbreviation). 

Image of Journal Details showing ill. images abbreviation

Exhibition catalogues


Searching exhibitions is another way you can find images. Exhibitions often have a common theme, and this can be useful if you are looking for a particular type of work. Many exhibitions produce an exhibition catalogue which contains images & descriptions of all the works on display in an exhibit. 

Exhibition catalogues are classified as books. To find them, search the Library Catalogue. 

What to search: 

  • "exhibition catalogue" (+ any additional keywords) 
  • Search Subject = Exhibitions (using the Advanced search) 

Artist's website


Many modern artists, designers & architects have their own website. You can explore these to find images from a particular artist that you are interested in, or an artist that creates a type of work that you're studying. 

You can often find an artist's website with a simple Google search. 

For Example: 

Google Web Search



If you're after work from an artist who is dead or long gone, they probably have a book published of their work. Search the Library Catalogue for their name to find books that contain images of their work. You can also browse the Library Level 9 in the section 759. 

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Where to get more help 

The study guide for your course or discipline will have more suggestions for databases, books, journals & other source specific to your study area. You can use those sources to search for more images.