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UVic Library Search Help

Tips for using the Library Search interface at the University of Victoria Libraries.

Finding images with UVic Libraries

UVic Libraries offer several ways for students, faculty, and staff members to find images for research purposes. These may be useful for research in fine arts, theatre, history, literature, the medical sciences, and more.

While Google Images can pull up a wealth of visual resources in seconds, often the results are low resolution and missing relevant contextual information. This can become a problem when it comes time to cite the images you used for your research project.

This guide will walk you through the ways to find and access high quality visual materials for your research.

Click here to see the video guide to finding images through UVic Libraries.

Image databases

For links to a variety of image databases to search within, see the following LibGuides:

Be sure to check the LibGuide for your subject as well, as many list image collections relevant to your discipline.

Using Library Search to find images

Images in UVic Libraries' database collections can be found using Library Search. Searching in image databases directly is another approach for locating images, and can often be simpler as these interfaces are designed primarily for image searching.

Starting your search in Library Search can be a useful strategy however, as this will search multiple image databases simultaneously. Your results will give you a good idea of which database will have the sorts of content you are looking for.

You can start by searching for a keyword related to the images you are interested in from the library homepage.

Screenshot of the library homepage, with 'William hogarth' entered into the main search bar

From your results page, look under the 'Refine your search' menu to the left side of the page. Under 'Content type,' select ‘Images.’ You may need to click 'Show more' to reveal this option.

screenshot of the library search results page, with the 'image' filter on the left side of the screen highlighted for emphasis

Clicking 'Available Online' underneath the title you are interested in will lead to the item's full record page.

Screenshot of a Library Search results page, with the 'available online' link underneath the second result highlighted for emphasis

From here, clicking the link under 'Full text availability' will lead to the item.

Screenshot of an item record for a print portrait of William Hogarth, with the link to view the full version in the database highlighted

As you may have noticed in the screenshots above, Library Search will not always display previews of image results from the screen. This can be a challenge for image searching! Keep reading to find out other places to search for high quality images for your research.

Using ARTStor to search for images

Searching directly in the image database is another way to find the images you need for your research.

If you know the type of resource you are looking for, searching directly in the database can be an easier way to locate the images you are looking for.

For visual arts and theatre research, for instance, ARTStor is a great way to find high-quality images including paintings, fine art prints, historic photographs, and set or costume design references.

Enter your search keyword into the central search bar and hit 'Enter' to search.

Screenshot of the ARTStor homepage with 'william hogarth' entered as a keyword

Filters on the left hand side of the search page will allow you to refine your results by geographic origin, classification (prints, photographs, paintings, etc.), date, and by contributor (i.e. the museums and institutions which house the items).

Screenshot of the ARTStor search results page, with the 'Geography' and 'Classification' search facets on the left hand side of the page highlighted

If you find that you have far more results than you were looking for, tick the 'Search within results' box next to the search bar, and then enter a new set of keywords to search within the results your initial search produced.

Click on any given image to view the full version of the image, along with its contextual information. Click the 'Cite this' button on the right to get full citations in APA, MLA, or Chicago formats.

Screenshot of the ARTStor interface, highlighting the 'Cite this' button on the item page for a painting

Browsing ARTStor

If you are unsure of the exact results you are looking for, ARTStor allows you to browse through images in several ways. This will let you enter the equivalent of a virtual museum, browsing through collections of multiple institutions by subject or geographical origin, or of an institution of your choice.

Mouse over the 'Browse' button, and click 'Artstor Collections' to enter the browsing interface.

Screenshot of the library search interface, with the 'Browse' menu open to the 'Access collections'

From the browse menu, you may select the way you wish to navigate through the ARTStor collections.

Screenshot of the ARTStor browse page, highlighting the four 'Browse By' options

Browsing by collection will allow you to view items sorted by the institution they are housed in, such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, Harvard Art Museums, or the Museum of Modern Art. After opening the collection, you can search within it using keywords using the search bar at the top of the page.

Browsing by classification will allow you to view items from multiple collections by subject area. Classifications include:

  • Architecture and City Planning
  • Decorative Arts, Utilitarian Objects and Interior Design
  • Drawings and Watercolors
  • Fashion, Costume and Jewelry
  • Film, Audio, Video and Digital Art
  • Garden and Landscape
  • Graphic Design and Illustration
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Manuscripts and Manuscript Illuminations
  • Maps, Charts and Graphs
  • Paintings
  • Performing Arts (including Performance Art)
  • Photographs
  • Prints
  • Science, Technology and Industry
  • Sculpture and Installations

Browsing by geography allows you to view art and artifacts by their country or region of origin. Items with multiple origins will be found under both headings. For instance, a mural by a located in the United States, but created by a Canadian artist will be tagged under the tags for both the United States and Canada.

Other image databases

For a list of image databases, see the Images LibGuide. The most extensive collections for the arts and humanities are found in ARTStor, Oxford Art Online, or Europeana.

For in-depth research assistance, email or schedule an appointment with fine arts librarian Christine Walde.

Citing Images

If you need help citing images, check out UVic Libraries' guide to citing images.

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This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.