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Images - Finding & Using

This guide provides information on where to find images for your research and using images for educational purposes.

Print resources

You will find a variety of images in the books in our collections. Most UBC Library branches are equipped with scanners to facilitate using images from the Library's print collections.

There are multiple ways to search the library catalogue for books with images:

  • Use the advanced search option to combine basic keyword searching with filters, such as selecting still image under content field.
  • Also in advanced search, combine research keywords with terms used to describe books with images, such as: illus, ill., illustration, pictorial works. Or, use specific image vocabulary such as: engraving or etching. For example, "gardens" can be typed into one search box, and "illus." in another.

Catalogue search tip: 

When you select an item record in the catalogue, which 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. 

Listed below are a few particularly visual 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 materials located in the Reference Collection at the Music, Art & Architecture Library, in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKBLC). Some books must be requested from the library's Automated Storage & Retrieval (ASRS) system to access.

Electronic resources

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

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