Online Sources for Images

(updated April 2000)


Guide to Using Online Sources for Images Clearinghouses for Digital Image Collections
Image collections and stock photo agencies Icons & clip art
Search engines Copyright information



 How to Use Online Sources for Images

This guide is meant more as a brief, annotated overview of available online image sources, and should not be viewed as a comprehensive listing. It includes clearinghouses, search engines, and a variety of image collections, including those whose principal business is the selling of images, such as Corbis.

Some suggestions for using this guide:

  • If you are unsure as to where to begin your search for images, check "clearinghouses" for collections not listed in the guide.
  • A site should have easily accessible copyright information about available images on the site. Be skeptical about sites with little or no copyright information. Contact information should also be clearly stated.

  • Prior to looking for an image on the web you need to answer the following questions, the answers to which will impact the quality and the file format of image needed, the cost of an image, if applicable, and image availability.

    • What type of image do you need?
    • Why do you need an image?
    • Is the image which you are searching for highly -detailed or a simple graphic such as clip art? This will determine the file format which you should retrieve -- go to for a brief explanation of file formats.
    • How is the image to be used? As an illustration on a web page? Will it be published in a periodical or book? Is it to be used in a presentation?
    • Will you need to archive the image and possibly reuse it in the future?

  • Accessing images on the web

    If the image is part of an online collection, such as Corbis, then you will have to follow the site's directions for accessing any of its images. If the image is simply part of web site follow these steps:

    For Win95/98/NT:

    1. Right click on the image.
    2. Select SAVE PICTURE AS...
    3. You will be prompted with a file name which you can change and you must also select a file type -- either JPEG (.jpg) and GIF (.gif) is usually the default file type and the appropriate file extension will automatically be attached to the file name.
    4. Select the destination where you want to save the image and click SAVE.

    For Mac:

    1. Make your browser window smaller so that you can see part of your desktop.
    2. Click on the image, hold and drag it to your desktop OR click and hold on an image and you will receive a dialogue box asking you to "Save image as..."
    3. The image will have a name, which you can change, as well as a .jpg or .gif file extension indicating the file's format. The extension should not be altered.
    4. At this point the file can be moved to any folder on the hard drive, or network (if the workstation is on a network).
  • If you have general questions about digital imaging try the following resources:
    • Introduction to Digital Imaging Guide --
    • A Short-Course in Digital Photography --
    • Finding Images Online : Online User's Guide to Image Searching in Cyberspace by Paula Berinstein (Information Today Inc; ISBN: 0910965218 ). Very thorough but dated since it was published in 1996.
    • The University of Surrey (UK) Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering provides a brief explanation of JPEG, GIF and PNG file formats --

Back to top

Clearinghouses for Digital Image Collections

Artcyclopedia --
--Guide to online art collections and image archives.

Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE Digital Collections --

Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE Other Digital Image Collections --

Library & Archival Exhibitions on the Web --
--Links to online exhibitions created by libraries, archives and historical societies.

University of Arizona Library's Clearinghouse of Image Databases --
--Links to the listed collections are not always available.

Back to top

Image collections and stock photo agencies (a sampling)

Ad*Access --
--Duke University collection of advertisements from 1911-1955. --
--Private, not for profit website with aviation images.

ABC Medianet (password needed) --
--Images from ABC television programs.

 American Memory (Library of Congress) --
--A major component of the LC's National Digital Library Program, includes multimedia collections of digitized documents, photographs, recorded sound, moving pictures, and text from the Library's Americana collections.

Art Museum Image Consortium --
--Images from a variety of art collections available to the educational community. 

Associated Press (password needed) --
--News and current events photos.

 California Heritage Collection --
--Historical California images from UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library.

CalPhotos: UC Berkeley Digital Library Photo Collection --
--California-related images from the Berkeley Digital Library.

Cartoon Bank --
--Stock house for single-panel cartoons. Online collection of cartoons found in The New Yorker.

 Chicano Visual Arts Digital Image Collection --
--A sampling of images in Chicano visual arts from the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives.

Corbis (personal use) --
--Provider of stock and historical images with a focus on providing products to individual consumers.

 Corbis Images (professional site -- password needed) --
--Stock photo agency as well as provider of images from the Bettman Archive of historical images.

The Curtis Collection --
--Collection of photographs taken by Edward Sheriff Curtis.

Detroit Institute of Arts Visual Resources Art Image Database --
--A sampling of work from the DIA.

Flags of the World --
--A large collection of flag images.

Getty Images (unafiliated with the Getty Museum) -- (then click Channels)
--Collection of stock photo agencies, and archival news photography, including Tony Stone Images and Hulton Getty.

Getty Museum --
--A sampling of artwork from the Getty's collection.

 Images of American Political History --
--Public domain images with a focus on US politics.

Los Angeles Public Library Photo Database --
--Includes the Security Pacific Bank and L.A. Herald Examiner collections, and showcases historical L.A. images.

Metropolitan Museum of Art --
--A selection of art images from the Met's galleries.

National Graphic Design Image Database --
--Supported by The Cooper Union, this database comprises images related to 20th century graphic design.

--NASA's online photo and data image collections.

PhotoEssentials --
--Stock photo images displayed with embedded watermarks. Search (basically a browse) feature. List of available CDs.

Photostore --
--Search engine and index to a collection of images and front pages from the Washington Post.

PictureQuest (password needed) --
--Stock photo agency specializing in royalty-free images.

Professional Cartoonists Index --
--Access to a variety of cartoon-related sites. Private site though cartoons are used with permission.

Time Inc. Picture Collection (password needed) --
--Collection of images from Time Inc.'s family of publications, including Life magazine, People, Sports Illustrated and Time.

Vesalius --
--Anatomical and surgical illustrations.

 Back to top

Icons & clip art

A-1 Icon Archive --

Clip Art Connection --

MediaBuilder Icon Library --

 Back to top

Search engines

Search Engine Watch --

Specific search engines:

AltaVista Photo & Media Finder --
--Filtered searching available. Will also search for video and sound.

Blobworld --
--Experimental search engine with emphasis on the spatial organization of an image's features. Part of UC Berkeley's Digital Library Photo Collection.

Ditto --
--Search engine as well as keyword and category directories for images on the web.

GO Network --
--"Searching for images" is an available option.

HotBot --
--Basic search engine with filtered searching capabilities. Will also search for video and sound.

Lycos Image Gallery --
--Directory to Lycos collection of images, as well as search engine, which can retrieve images from either the collection or the web.

Scour.Net --
--Basic web search engine. Will also search for video and sound.

WebSEEk --
--More like a directory to images on the web. Interesting feature which can search either one category or the entire catalog by color.

Yahoo Image Surfer --
--Basic search engine with categories of photos.

 Back to top

Copyright Information

Copyright Clearinghouse --

Picture Agency Council of America --

US Copyright Office at the Library of Congress --

Back to top

Contact page administrator