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Finding & Using Images in Research

In This Guide

This guide provides an overview of how to find high-quality images for your research, incorporate images into your paper or project, and properly cite images.

Use the side tabs to navigate through the following pages of the guide:

Go to the source!

  • When using an image, do your due diligence to find its source so you can properly credit the maker in your work and, if relevant, where the image is located (a museum or archive?). This may entail some sleuthing if the image you found is on social media or reposted from somewhere else on a website. 
  • Did you find an image on a website or social media and you're not sure of the original source? Use the Google Image reverse search to see if you can find more information. 

What about copyright?

Copyright is complicated, and it depends on how you are using the image. Images rights fall into three main categories:

  • Copyright: Work cannot be used, adapted, or copied without the creator's permission (though there are exceptions, including for educational use).
  • Creative Commons: Works may be used with a certain set or restrictions or permissions under a Creative Commons license. Creators may decide how their work can be used or adapted. 
  • Public Domain: Works created before 1927 are in the public domain as are works that were placed in the public domain by their creators. Again, there are exceptions to this rule!

What is "Fair Use"? 

  • Fair use allows for use of copyrighted works for specific, limited purposes, including education. 

If you have questions about whether or not you can use an image, consult this chart or ask a librarian :)

Source: The Visual Communication Guy (used through fair use!)