Santa Clara University

Department of Art and Art History

Visual Resources: Images on the Internet

SCU Collections | Internet Image Resources | Using Images

Searching & Sources

Note that many images found on the web via search engines or as part of public collections are still subject to copyright laws. Always check the usage policy of the site where you find an image and see the below section Using Images for more guidance.

Image Search Engines

A Review of Image Search Engines
TASI (Technical Advisory Service for Images)
Evaluation of major search engines with image search options as well as specialized image search engines. Includes links to many image sites.

Academically oriented digital resources harvested from educational and research institutions, national libraries, and other organizations. Select "limit by resource type: image"

AltaVista Image Search

Google Image Search


Public Collections

American Memory (Library of Congress)
A "gateway to rich primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The site offers more than 7 million digital items from more than 100 historical collections." Use the Collection Finder to access the collection by broad subject, date, place, or material format.

Collect Britain (British Library)
More than 90,000 digital images of maps, prints and drawings, photographs, and other documents, and rare early sound recordings from around the globe.

Calisphere (University of California Libraries)
More than 150,000 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.
Free photo sharing and management website that provides access to thousands of photos on all topics submitted by amateur and professional photographers.

Gallica (Bibliotheque National de France)
Over 90,000 digital images of photographs, prints, drawings, maps, manuscripts, books, and other materials documenting the history and culture of France.

MIA (Minneapolis Institute of the Arts)
Begun in 1973, the MIA's collection of photographs spans the history of the medium as fine art, from the 1860s to the present. Representing more than 800 photographers and 8,500 works of art, the collection consists primarily of 20th-century American work, but increasing emphasis on photographs from all countries is providing new scope and dimension.

MFA (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
With a collection of 450,000 objects, the MFA, Boston owns some of the most rare and important artistic treasures in the world. At every turn, you’ll find breathtaking works of art, from masters of American painting to the icons of Impressionism, from exquisite Asian scrolls to Egyptian mummies.

NYPL Digital (New York Public Library)
"NYPL Digital Gallery provides access to over 600,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the collections of The New York Public Library, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more." (now includes the Picture Collection Online).

OAC (Online Archive of California)
The OAC includes a single, searchable database of "finding aids" to primary sources and their digital facsimiles. Primary sources include letters, diaries, manuscripts, legal and financial records, photographs and other pictorial items, maps, architectural and engineering records, artwork, scientific logbooks, electronic records, sound recordings, oral histories artifacts and ephemera.

Picture Australia (National Library of Australia)
Search engine for Australia-related images of "people, places and events in the collections of libraries, museums, galleries, archives, universities and other cultural agencies, in Australia and abroad." Includes works of art in all media, contemporary news and historical photos, historical objects and printed materials.

PPOC (Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, The Library of Congress)
Provides access through group or item records to about 75% of the Division's holdings, as well as to some images found in other units of the Library of Congress. Many of the catalog records are accompanied by digital images--about 1.2 million digital images in all.

A completely independent resource dedicated to all strains of the avant-garde, ethnopoetics, and outsider arts.” This site houses a unique array of literary, spoken word, video, and sound art.

VADS (Visual Art Data Service, University for the Creative Arts)
VADS has provided services to the academic community for 11 years and has built up a considerable portfolio of visual art collections comprising over 100,000 images that are freely available and copyright cleared for use in teaching, learning and research in the UK.

WorldImages (San Jose State University)
The internationally recognized database provides access to the California State University IMAGE Project. It contains almost 75,000 images, is global in coverage and includes all areas of visual imagery. WorldImages is accessible anywhere and its images may be freely used for non-profit educational purposes. The images can be located using many search techniques, and for convenience they are organized into over 800 portfolios, which are then organized into subject groupings.

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