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Resources to support research in art & architecture at Milner Library and beyond

Search Strategies for Finding Images

When trying to find the perfect image, it can be a frustrating process. Search terms don’t always match with images in the results list.

Use these search tips to help find the images you are trying to find.

Choosing an image database

  • Become familiar with many different image databases available. Each uses unique criteria for what images are included in the database.
  • Milner Library subscribes to several databases that are not readily available on the Open Web or via Google Images.
  • Search several databases. No one database will have every image you will need.

Using an image database

  • Identify the features of the database, specifically what identifying information is used and search functionality.
  • Browse the database content. This is a quick way to identify what is unique about the images and search functions.
  • Consult the About, Help, or FAQ pages. These pages give a good overview of what you can find and how to search.

Search Terms

  • The search terms you use are affected by
    • The type of database you are using
    • The type of image you want to find
  • When looking for artwork, use an artist’s name, time period, medium, or geographical regions as your search terms.
  • For non-artwork images, use search terms that describe the image’s content, an emotion, or specific action such as mountains, happy, teamwork.
  • Create a list of synonyms or alternate spellings of search terms such as presenting, presentation, speech, public speaking.

Fine Arts Librarian

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Heather Koopmans
She / Her
619A Milner Library
(309) 438-3950