Skip to main content

Images - Finding & Using

This guide provides information on where to find images for your research and direction on the use of images for educational purposes.

Print resources

You'll find a variety of images throughout the books in our collections, and using images from the Library's print collection has never been easier as most of UBC Library's branches are equipped with scanners!

There are multiple ways to search the library catalogue for books with images. Try using advanced search to combine basic keyword searching with filters, such as selecting still image under content field. Another option in advance search is to combine your research keywords with keywords used to describe books with images, such as illus, ill., illustration, pictorial works, as well as more specific image vocabulary, such as engraving or etching. For example, "gardens" can be typed into one search field, and "illus." in the other.

Catalogue search tip: When you select a catalogue record that resulted from a keyword search, a highlighting box appears at the top left of the page. If highlighting is on, it will highlight the terms in the catalogue record that matched your search. When searching for images, read the description and subject(s) areas, under the book location grey box, which often contain image information. 

Below we have highlighted a few especially visual circulating books that you might enjoy checking out. 


Indexes are books that list information on where to find particular resources on a subject. In this case, the indexes offer where to find published images in certain fields or themes. Most print indexes are non-circulating reference materials held in the Music, Art and Architecture Library in the I.K. Barber building. Some books must first be requested from the library's ASRS storage before being accessed.

Electronic resources

In addition to UBC Library's print collection, the Library subscribes to thousands of electronic titles. Some resources will allow you to view a list of all illustrations within a specific title or to narrow your search to photos, images and maps, but these functions will vary widely. Please note, many ebooks do not allow you to download the image as a file separate from the text.

In addition to stand alone ebooks, ebook collections are another great source of images that allow you to search across hundreds of books at time.  A few of these collections are listed below.