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Open Access Resources

A guide to free and public online resources covering a wide range of topics.



Film Literature Index

  • Covers film, television and video productions, with articles ranging from the scholarly and critical to the popular.

Fine Bindings

  • Photographs of Watson Library's growing collections of decorated bindings.


  • An image-hosting and -sharing website which claims to host more than 4 billion digital images uploaded by its users.

Flickr Commons

  • Offers cultural heritage institutions a centralized, easy-to-use site to host selections from their digitized collections, and in so doing facilitate much wider public access to these collections than might otherwise be possible.



  • Online database from the Bibliothèque nationale de France offering a wide variety of fully scanned and searchable art resources, including auction catalogs.

Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus

  • The AAT contains around 60,000 records and 375,000 terms.

Getty Research Institute

  • A vast array of special collections of rare materials and digital resources. Some of its more relevant tools are listed individually among the below.

Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

  • A structured vocabulary of geographic places relevant to the study of art and architecture.

Getty Union List of Artist Names

  • A structured vocabulary with nearly 300,000 records for creators of cultural objects, including artists, architects, designers, and manufacturers.

Global EDT Search

  • Search over 5.9 million electronic theses and dissertations contained in the NDLTD archive.

Global Music Archive

  • Covers traditional and popular song, music, and dance of Africa and the Americas.

Google Cultural Institute

  • Images of the world’s cultural treasures, including artworks, landmarks and world heritage sites.

Google Patents

  • Search and read the full text of patents from around the world.

Great Buildings Collection

  • The site features 1,200 architectural historically significant buildings from all points of human history and on (nearly) all continents.


  • Covers the environment and a variety of disciplines such as agriculture, education, law, health and technology.


Harvard University Digital Collections

  • Harvard University makes a number of its special collections available in digitized form, which range widely by object type and subject matter.

History of Collecting in America

  • Database created to help researchers locate primary source material about American art collectors, dealers, agents and advisers, and the repositories that hold these records. Covers 18th century to present.



  • International advertising & design database.


  • Hierarchically ordered collection of definitions of objects, people, events and abstract ideas that may serve as the subject of an image.

Images from the History of Medicine

  • Provides access to nearly 70,000 images in the collections of the History of Medicine Division of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) Biographical Database

  • IAWA exists to document women's contributions to the built environment. The database captures biographical information about women architects and designers, including (but not limited to) women whose material collections are maintained by IAWA.

Internet Archive

  • A non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more. The site includes the Wayback Machine, a digital archive of the World Wide Web.


J. Paul Getty Museum

  • The collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum comprises Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art from the Neolithic to Late Antiquity; European art—including illuminated manuscripts, paintings, drawings, sculpture, and decorative arts—from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century; and international photography from its inception to the present day.

Japanese Illustrated Books

  • This collection includes over 650 18th and 19th century Japanese illustrated books held in The Met's Department of Asian Art.

JISC Digital Media

  • Dedicated to supplying the further and higher education communities with the knowledge needed to create and distribute high-quality digital media (still and moving images, sound, and multimedia).

JSTOR Register & Read

  • Access to free JSTOR articles, as well as the ability to save original work directly to the site.