UTS Library

Finding and Using Images

This guide aims to answer the most common question about finding and using images...

How do I find images for presentations and essays?

Visual Arts Data Service - This is a UK image resource for visual arts. It's collections comprised over 100,000 images that are freely available and copyright cleared for use in learning, teaching and research.

Flickr / Google Images / Compfight - This are all ways of finding images, but you will have to restrict your search to images that are free to use or share. To do this in Google Images go to the 'Advanced Search'. Search option seen below:

How can I search for graphs, illustrations and pictures in journal articles?

Science Direct - ScienceDirect is great for scientific images. Has an image search in advanced search mode... and uniquely has video content embedded in articles that can restrict to. All images are licensed for educational reuse.

Ebscohost databases - Allow you to restrict your search to articles with images, by checking the 'image quick view' box in the search options.. This will give you a list of articles with the embedded pictures displayed in the list. Ebscohost databases cover just about every major topic - from the humanities to business and even health. For science images, look to Science Direct or Proquest. All images are licensed for educational reuse.

Proquest - Is another database that covers just about every topic - humanities, design, business, health and science. Searches can also be refined to images via the 'figures and tables' option in advanced search. All images are licensed for your educational reuse.

How can I find building plans?

For building plans, refer to our Finding Building Plans study guide

What about video?

What are creative commons images?

Wanna Work Together? from Creative Commons.

(Thanks to CreativeCommons.org.au for text pertaining to the strict definition of Creative Commons licenses)

Creative Commons licenses allow creative works to be shared and re-used under terms that are flexible and legally sound.  There is no single "Creative Commons license," (there are in fact 6 of them). It is important to identify which of the six licenses you are applying to your work, and which of the six licenses has been applied to a work you intend to use.

CC licenses may be applied to any type of image, including photographs, artworks, illustrations, video content, graphs and tables.

All 6 licenses require that users provide attribution to the original creator when content is used and shared. Attribution is like referencing. Generally it is a good idea to attribute ANY image you are reusing, especially if you are reusing it for an assignment or a presentation.

An example of how you would attribute an image in a presentation is shown below:

Attribution Example

Public Image Databases that use Creative Commons licensing regularly use an icon system to describe their various types of licenses.

Seen below it the icon that describes the ‘reuse with attribution license’. This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.

Attribution Icon

What is Educational Use/ Reuse?

Educational Reuse is a provision to cover use the use of images for teaching and study. The definition of Educational Use or Reuse is quite broad. It covers:

  • the reproduction of the image for use in an assignment
  • for a powerpoint presentation in class
  • for use in an artwork or performance
  • or for use in password protected online environments like UTS Online.
  • But it DOES NOT cover publication in PHD theses and journal articles.


In Flickr, or any other image sharing website that uses Creative Commons Licensing, the license that describes educational reuse is called a Noncommercial licence. The icon for this kind of license is seen below:

Noncommercial License Icon

For more information about creative commons licenses, including commercial licenses and derivatives, see Creative Commons: About the Licences

How do I reference images?

All material sourced from images in UTS Library subscription databases should be referenced according to the guidelines of your specified faculty style, be it Harvard (UTS), APA or the AGLC. Guide to all of these styles are available from the Library's Referencing Guide.

Tineye is a reverse search enging. If you upload an image to Tineye it will help you find the original url of an image you may have found on the net.

Still can’t find what you need? Try…

ArtStor/Oxford Art Online – These are both handy databases for art images, and both are licensed for educational reuse.

Picture Australia – a search through images available at the National Library of Australia

Powerhouse Museum – for industrial design images especially

If your question isn't answered here, why not try using the 'Ask a question about this page' option at the bottom of screen! Or ask one of our friendly Librarians!