This guide will help you find images and provide information on how to use images in your work.
See Images used in this guide section for details.
The Library subscribes to a number of databases that provide high quality images. These databases are restricted to University of Melbourne staff and students.
Free online resources feature large collections of images with Creative Commons licenses or in the public domain. See the Copyright section of this guide for more on licenses and using images in your work.
These resources are collections of photos:
These resources include photos, illustrations, scalable vector graphics and video clips:
These websites provide access to images from the collections of key institutions such as libraries, museums, galleries and scientific organisations.
These websites provide access to images of cultural material from the collections of art galleries, museums and libraries.
Bilma (clapsticks) Unknown maker (Northern Territory, Australia, c. 1850–1955. University of Melbourne Library, Rare Music Collection.
Theo Strasser (1956–) Ghost bones Melbourne: Anajah Press, 2017.
These websites provide access to images from the collections of museums, scientific organisations and libraries.
Adapted from St Kilda Junction, date unknown. Architecture, Building and Planning Library: Glass Slides Collection.
Physical resources at the University of Melbourne Library.
There are a couple of different ways to find a book with images via the library catalogue.
You can do a Keyword search using the term illustrat* eg. illustrat* war or illustrat* fashion This will find books that are illustrated or have a listed illustrator.
Another useful keyword term is pictorial works eg. Australia pictorial works or planet pictorial works
You can also try a Subject search, using 'in art' eg. women in art or death in art
To confirm that the book you have located on the catalogue has images, simply look at the physical description. Here are two examples showing that illustrations are included in the book.
Veiwing book at the University of Melbourne library
Using images in your research can be a great way to add meaning to your text. However, not all images can be reproduced in the same way. To understand how to work with images it's important to know the basics of copyright.
Copyright is a form of intellectual property which attempts to balance the creator’s ability to control and generate an income from their work with the greater community’s need to use that work for socially beneficial purposes. It is important that we respect the rights of copyright owners and take the appropriate steps to prevent copyright infringement.
Copyright doesn’t protect ideas and information – only how they are expressed in material form. Your ideas are protected by copyright once you write them down as part of your essay or thesis, record them as a sound or video, when you take a photograph, or compose a piece of music.
Copyright owners have the have exclusive rights to:
If anyone else wants to do any of these things, they will generally need the copyright owner's permission.
Copyright generally lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years – but it does vary for different types of works.
When a work is in the public domain, it means the copyright has expired or the creator has dedicated it to the public domain. Websites like Pixabay , Pexels and Unsplash offer free, searchable public domain images. You can also use images uploaded to Wikimedia , and public domain images you find using a filtered Google Image search .
Creative Commons is a global not-for-profit initiative which provides free licences for creators to allow legal sharing and remixing of their material. There are guides available on the Copyright Office website on searching for Creative Commons images.
Certain websites also allow individuals to use materials on their website under their terms and conditions. For example, they may specify that the material on their website can be used for personal, non-commercial or educational purposes. Check the terms and conditions of the website to check whether you are able to use images on their website compliantly.
Creative Commons licences allow for creators to give permission for others to use the work in advance under certain conditions.
You can also seek permission from the copyright owner. Keep a written record of the permission and all communication. In the written permission, you should ensure there are full details of the proposed use and any future uses.
You can use a work under a Fair Dealing exemption which – under certain circumstances – allows the limited use of copyright material without requiring permission from the copyright owner. To rely on these provisions, the use must be genuine and not merely illustrative. So, if, for example, you are relying on the fair dealing provision for criticism and review of an image, you must be making a genuine judgement of the material or of its underlying ideas.
Detail from Favāyid c.1800s. University of Melbourne Rare Books Collection.
Referencing images appropriately is one way of displaying good academic integrity as well as ensuring that you are keeping your use of the image copyright compliant. Each citation styles will cite images differently.
Re:cite is the Library’s guide to citing and referencing in your research and writing, and can help you cite the images you are using appropriately.
Think laterally about search terms in big databases like Unsplash.
What concepts or feelings are you trying to get across?
Try about different ways to describe what you are looking for, or associated words / synonyms. You can also look for images that complement the theme of your work, i.e. do I want an image that displays indecision, or solidarity?
Try a Google reverse image search.
Remember to investigate websites thoroughly to check the claims they are making.
Struggling through the rugged terrain of Gallipoli to survey the battlefield. Image: Sarah Midford, Research at Melbourne.