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Finding Images Online

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Beware the Google Image search!

So many students use the Google Image search to find pictures for their History Day projects, but there are a few dangers.

  • Not all photographs listed in Google Images come from reliable websites, and it’s always better to use resources from quality sites, such as university collections, rather than someone’s blog.
  • Also, trying to keep track of the random websites where you found images can be a challenge. For your bibliography, you do need to list where you got all of your resources, and simply listing “Google Images” is not okay. “Google Images” is a repository, much like a library, and can’t be listed as a source, so you need to keep tabs on every single image location.

But there is hope! Try searching websites such as Library of Congress American Memory or the National Archives for images. If you get multiple images from the same reliable website, you can list them as such in your bibliography. For example:

GOOD: Women’s suffrage parade images, 1900-1919. “‘Votes for Women’ Suffrage Pictures: 1850-1920.” Library of Congress American Memory website. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html. 4 January 2010.

BAD: Women’s suffrage parade images. Google Images. 4 January 2010.

Or, if you intend to use Google Images, you can search just the reliable websites by searching with the tags: “site:.gov” or “site:.edu” or “site:.mil.” So if you are searching for World War II planes, instead of just typing in “World War II planes,” type in “World War II planes site:.gov” and Google Images will only search for pictures on government websites. You will still need to keep track of all your pictures, but at least they will be from reliable sites.