Subject Guides

Using Images

Citing Images, Evaluating Image Quality, Image Copyright, Digital Imaging, Finding Images

Finding Images

Anonymous, Mask for Hahoe dance, ca. 14th c.,

accessed via VRC Binghamton University


Image sources are not just onlinedon’t forget about print! Not everything is digitized, so be sure to look in:


·         Books, journals, maps, and other print material in the library

·         The archival holdings in Special Collections (they will help you scan images if it is safe to do so)

·         If it is something that you can photograph yourself (such as a historic site or building) this may be a good option.


Some web resources include:

·         Museum and Library websites

·         University Archives, Digital Collections

·         Online Scholarly Journals


Some of the major image databases used at Binghamton University:



Database of over one million digital images encompassing architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts and material culture. Save and share images, cite images easily for research, and create personal collections and presentations using OIV (Offline Image Viewer) or PowerPoint.

Oxford Art Online-Images

This online encyclopedia allows you to search the images that are attached to articles.


You can find all of the image databases Binghamton University subscribes to and those that are open access at the Art & Architectural History Subject Guide, Image Databases Page.


Search strategies for finding Images


Digital images usually have a set of metadata attached to them. Metadata is basically data that describes other data. So a digital photograph of a sculpture may have the following metadata:



File Size

Museum or Institutional Repository

Provenance (history of ownership)


Date photographed

Usage Conditions

Accession Number

Date Created

Subject Terms or Tags




Description of the work

Location of what is depicted within the work



For example:


Image Information


Henri Matisse, French, 1869-1954


Dance (I)

Work Type



Paris, Hôtel Biron, early 1909


Oil on canvas


8' 6 1/2 x 12' 9 1/2 (259.7 x 390.1 cm)


The Museum of Modern Art

Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller in honor of Alfred H. Barr, Jr.

Accession Number


ARTstor Collection

The Museum of Modern Art: Painting and Sculpture

ID Number



Image and original data provided by the The Museum of Modern Art


Your use of this image is restricted to those permitted uses specified in the ARTstor Digital Library Terms and Conditions of Use ( To request permission for any other use within North America, please contact Art Resource, 536 Broadway, New York, NY 10012; phone: 212-505-8700; fax: 212-505-2053; email:; website: To request permission for any other use outside North America, please contact Scala Archives: Scala Group, S.p., 62 via Chiantigiana, 50011 Antella/Firenze, Italy. Phone 39 055 6233 200, fax 39 055 641124, email;

© 2009 Henri Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; To make use of this image for purposes beyond the ARTstor Terms and Conditions of Use, please contact Artist Rights Society, 536 Broadway, 5th Floor, New York, New York 10012; Tel.: 212-420-9160; Fax: 212-420-9286;

Download Size




Searching these terms will help you locate an image; if you are having trouble locating the desired image, make sure to include as much information as you know about it. Generate synonyms and look at the Art & Architecture Thesaurus and Union List of Artist Names if you are not sure what something is called.


For instance, say you are writing a paper about the poets of WWI. One of the sonnets alludes to death as a dance, so you want to include in your paper some photographs or works of art that deal with the motif “dancing with death.”


If you type “dancing with death” into a search engine, you get a handful of great images, and then a million irrelevant ones. Among the great images, most of them are from individual blogs that don’t source where they retrieved the image from. We know that using those images may not be the best practice.


Binghamton University Libraries subscribes to many databases. The major one to search for images is ARTstor, so let’s type in “dancing with death.” There’s a couple of dozen. Let’s modify that and type “dance with death.”

Now there are much more.  If we want in particular a woman who dances with death, we can search for “woman” AND “dance” AND “death.” Try to come up with as many terms possible for what you are searching for. If you find a relevant image, see if there are any subject terms attached to it that can lead you to more like-images.




German School, 16th century, Dance of Death, Pen and brown ink, brush and brown ink, watercolor and gouache, with touches of gold, 7 7/16 x 5 5/16 in. (18.9 x 13.5 cm), Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art , accessed via ARTstor


Browsing by Collection in ARTstor

If you are interested in what's available within specific collections, it is possible to see every collection we have access to in ARTstor. Under "Browse" select "Collection" and there are many choices from other University Libraries, Special Collections, and Institutions.



**A selection of accessible collections**

The Warburg Institute--Renaissance and Baroque book illustrations

Frick Art reference Library Photographs--Historical photographs of works of art in the United States and Europe

Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States (Library of Congress)--Material and visual culture of the United States

Binghamton University: Oggins Collection--Digital images selected from the Oggins Collection, a donation of more than 50,000 slides of "mostly medieval" subjects selected by Professor Robin Oggins between 1962 and 2004 for use in his classes and for two NEH Summer Institutes. The images have also been used in research on medieval falconry, hunting, diet and women's studies, among other subjects.





Filippo Ferroverde, Pane & Cupido (Pan, Cupid), 1615, woodcut, p. 458,

The Warburg Institute Library. accessed via ARTstor collection,

Warburg Institute: Renaissance and Baroque Book Illustrations