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Digital Image Repositories  

Museums around the world are digitizing their works and making them available to the public as high-quality images.
Last Updated: Dec 14, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
Digital Image Repositories Print Page

General Guidelines for Using Open Collections

Fair Use

"Fair use is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work. In United States copyright law, fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, search engines, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship. It provides for the legal, unlicensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test.?" From Wikipedia


Unless otherwise noted, always attribute the source of an image when using it.

ex: Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.


Need Help Citing an Image?

Check out the MLA and APA style guides or ask a reference librarian for help.


Want More Information on Digital Museum Repositories?

The New York Times wrote an article on Digital Museum Repositories in 2013.



Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” (1642) on display in the Rijksmuseum.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

List of Repositories

  • Rijksmuseum
    The Rijksmuseum has set the standard for image collections by making over 125,000 high-quality images of masterpieces from the museum available to the public. Utilizing the Rijksstudio, users can create collections, download images for personal or commercial use and print copies of their favorite artwork.
  • The Getty Trust
    The Getty makes available, without charge, all available digital images to which the Getty holds the rights or that are in the public domain to be used for any purpose. No permission is required.
  • National Gallery of Art (NGA) Images
    NGA Images is a repository of digital images of the collections of the National Gallery of Art. The Repository allows users to search, browse, share, and download images. More than 25,000 open access digital images up to 3000 pixels each are available free of charge for download and use. NGA Images is designed to facilitate learning, enrichment, enjoyment, and exploration.
  • The Smithsonian
    From The Smithsonian Institution in Washington: Search over 8.3 million catalog records of museum objects, and library & archives materials. More than 920,000 of these records contain online images, video and sound files, electronic journals and other online resources.
  • Google Cultural Institute
    Google has partnered with hundreds of museums, cultural institutions, and archives to host the world’s cultural treasures online.
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