Images, photos, multimedia resources in medicine

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Leonardo da Vinci (1452 — 1519) as Plato
Source: Wikicommons
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Last Update

  • Updated.jpg 25 April 2016


See also Anatomy resources | Copyright resources | Media literacy | Medical video-sharing sites | Users of health libraries

  • UBC Library Medical Images & Multimedia Resources

Are you using images correctly?

  • How does copyright apply to images?
  • What does it mean for images to be in the public domain?
  • How do Creative Commons licenses work?
  • How can you work with stock photo agencies when you need an image?
  • How do you go about using images from Google and other search engines?
  • What do you do if you cannot locate a copyright owner
  • What do you do when you need permission to use an image?
  • What is fair use and fair dealing? What concept pertains to Canada? on the web?
  • How do you obtain copyright permission?
  • How do you negotiate terms and conditions and payments for the use of images?
  • How do global permissions work?
  • What situations may not require copyright permission?
  • What are best practices for legally using images?
  • Images are more important than ever in the visual age whether it's in our presentations, blogs or on FaceBook. How often do we consider whether we need permissions to load those images?
  • Here are 6 essential considerations prior to using any photographs, tables, illustrations and other images.

Six (6) Tips for Legally Using Images

  1. Start with the assumption that all images are protected by copyright. This includes images that are found through a Google search. See Copyright Law + Using Photos and Images from Google .
  2. Copyright-wise, it is always less risky to link to a photo or other image than it is to copy and paste that image onto your website or social media platform.
  3. When possible, use photos that you have taken yourself. Unless you are employed and are taking photos as part of your job, you own the copyright in your own photos. (Don't forget to obtain a model release from any persons in your photographs. This is not a copyright issue but is a privacy/publicity issue.)
  4. Use and re-use images which have a Creative Commons (CC) license. However, be aware that a CC license is just that: a license. You will need to read the terms and conditions of the license and see what is allowed or not. Not all CC licenses allow the same uses. A CC license may allow use as-is, or in a remix or as part of a new work, and in most cases requires attribution of the copyright owner.
  5. Purchase images from stock photo agencies and follow the license terms; you are not outright buying the image from a stock agency but are paying for certain uses of the image. Read the specific terms and conditions (to which supposedly you have agreed.) For example, you may be able to post the image on your website but you may require additional permission (and make additional payment) to use the image on the front cover of a print book.
  6. When you seek permission from the copyright owner of an image, always ask first if they actually own the copyright in the image. The image's creator may have assigned their rights to someone else, or the photographs or other images may have been created at work as part of their work duties. In these latter cases, the photographers or other image creators do not have the right to provide you with permission to the use their work.

For nurses

Free images


UM LibGuides on Images and Open Access Images

Medical websites


A free peer-reviewed service for medical and oral health teaching materials, assessment tools and faculty resources. All copyright and privacy issues are addressed during submission so users can download and utilize resources without infringement.

  • Family Medicine Digital Resources Library (FMDRL), from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine -

A digital library that provides freely accessible digital teaching resources of the highest quality that meet the needs of today's health sciences educators and learners. A repository for multimedia learning assets such as images, videos and animations used to create learning objects. It also contains a variety of learning objects that are used by medical educators.

A page of links to pictures from around the web.

Nearly 70,000 images in the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) historical collections; portraits, photographs, fine prints, caricatures, genre scenes, posters, and other graphic art illustrates the social and historical aspects of medicine from the Middle Ages to the present.

A consortium of medical societies, pharmaceutical companies, medical schools and government entities working to develop standardized pedagogical and technical specifications for e-learning materials, including learning objects.

The health sciences section includes resources from several academic institutions. It is an educational resource for teaching and learning. Students and instructors may use the health science learning materials and/or submit their own modules for evaluation and learning to support teaching and learning.

Anatomy images & multimedia


Pathology slides & other images

Learning Object Repositories (not medical-related)

  • Alliance of Remote Instructional Authoring and Distribution Networks for Europe (ARIADNE)


Personal tools