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Visual Research

Resources and tips for finding and ethically using visual imagery.

What is Visual Research?

photograph of astronaut buzz aldrin on the moon

Visual research is a process of information discovery where the desired outcome is image- or graphically-based instead of text- or language- based.

This guide contains techniques for practicing artists to engage in visual research efficiently and effectively, using both resources online and in the physical library at LMU.


Astronaut Aldrin is photographed by Astronaut Armstrong on the Moon, July 20 1969.
Reproduced from NASA, February 24 2010.

Image Search Tools

Creative Commons


This guide contains a wide variety of resources from which to find visual imagery, and each one has different copyright restrictions associated with use or re-use of their images. One way to guarantee that you are ethically and legally reproducing or using an image appropriately is to look for images with a Creative Commons license.

The sites below represent a small cross section of places around the web where you can find Creative Commons images.

A Few Favorites...

Undergraduate Library Research Award

Each year, the LMU Library sponsors an Undergraduate Library Research Award to recognize and reward LMU undergraduate students whose research makes expert and creative use of the services, resources, and collections of the William H. Hannon Library to produce a scholarly or creative work. A prize of $1,000 will be awarded to one undergraduate student, plus two honorable mentions of $450 each.