Visual Resources Collection


Brooke Sansosti: Visual Resources Librarian, extension 7409
Sarah Bavier: Digital Resources Specialist, extension 7984

General Information

The Visual Resources Collection of the Department of Art maintains a continuously expanding collection of analog and digital images that primarily supports the daily teaching and ongoing research of the faculty and students in the department, and secondarily the general teaching of visual culture by Reed College faculty. Works of art and architecture from prehistoric times to the present, from both Western and non-Western cultures, are represented.

The holdings currently number approximately 110,000 35mm slides, 44,000 locally produced digital images, and 72,000 commercially licensed digital images. The collection contains images of traditional media such as architecture, drawing, painting, photography, prints, and sculpture; the many applied or decorative arts in glass, ivory, jewelry, metal, wood, etc.; newer media such as computer art, digital art, performance art, video, etc.; and images of social, cultural, and historical documentation. CONTENTdm is the digital image database for the Visual Resources Collection’s digital collections. The College also subscribes to ARTstor through the College’s Library.

The use of materials in the Visual Resources Collection is subject to the copyright restrictions of the 1976 Copyright Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The VRC abides by the Fair Use provisions of the Copyright Act and also follows the Image Collection Guidelines produced by the Visual Resources Association. Materials borrowed by patrons are to be used for educational, non-profit use only. Please contact the Visual Resources Librarian about other arrangements or with specific questions.

Image Database

Reed Classics Image Database- Use Reed's ContentDM database to browse images by lecture, topic, era, region, and more. For off campus access, see proxy setup instructions.

Reed Digital Collections - Reed's general image database. For off campus access, see proxy setup instructions.

Visual Resources Collection and CONTENTdm Copyright and Collection Development Policy

With the exception of some items that have passed into the public domain, materials in the Visual Resources Collection and CONTENTdm are copyrighted. The following policy outlines how images are acquired, and how they may be used by students, faculty, and staff at Reed.

Acquisition of visual resources falls into several categories: purchase and license, donation, and scanning or copystand photography.

Purchasing and licensing: When a commercially produced image of acceptable quality is available, we will purchase, license, or otherwise legally acquire, the following in developing permanent archives of images:

  1. Slides or digital files from museums, galleries or other such institutions
  2. Slides or digital files from vendors and image providers
  3. Original on-site photography produced for sale by professional or highly skilled photographers.
  4. Slides or digital files distributed on a free-use basis through recognized educational or professional institutions, organizations and consortia.

Gifts and donations: We are happy to add to the collection images taken by faculty, provided that the following criteria are met:

  1. Basic descriptive information (Title, Source, Location) is provided or can easily be researched
  2. Image size and quality meets collection standards

Copystand photography and scanning: We will accept requests for copystand photography of images in books or periodicals if no other source for the image is available at reasonable cost, or as a temporary measure to meet short-term curricular needs. Images created by copystand photography and scanning from published materials for inclusion in the permanent archive are subject to the following considerations:

  1. Images of suitable quality are not readily available at a reasonable cost and in a reasonable time from any of the options listed above.
  2. Images will not be shared between or among other educational institutions if such use is prohibited by the terms of their acquisition.
  3. Images will be used for comment, criticism, review, analysis, discussion, or other similar purpose associated with instruction or scholarship.
  4. Images will be used only for purposes that are both nonprofit and educational.
  5. In keeping with copyright limitations, digital images produced for the collection will not be used for study or research as a replacement for a copyrighted work (e.g. book from the which the digital images were derived).
  6. If the above conditions can be met, it is likely that making images and digital files from published materials will be within "Fair Use" as outlined in Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976.

Public Domain images (those in which neither the underlying work of art documented nor the photographic reproduction itself is subject to copyright) may be safely acquired by any appropriate means, including copystand photography or scanning. Use of such images is unrestricted.

Reed College Visual Resources Collection and CONTENTdm images are provided to support research, teaching and study and may be used for education purposes only. Reed College students, faculty, and staff may use images for in-class display, as well as academic presentations, papers, assignments, and senior theses.

Images must be properly attributed. Cite the source of the image as "Reed College CONTENTdm Digital Collections" and when available also add the statement "Courtesy of [individual/organization listed as Copyright Holder]" or "Public domain image". Unless an image's Copyright Holder is "public domain," uses other than those described above - such as inclusion in a published or commercial work or a non-Reed-password-protected website - may require permission from the copyright holder.

Some uses outside of the parameters outlined in this document may be considered “Fair Use” as outlined in Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976. Such uses to be considered fair must be judged independently and individually, using the four-factor analysis described in Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976. The four factors to be considered in determining if a use is a fair use are:

  1. purpose and character of the use;
  2. nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. amount and substantiality of the material used; and
  4. the effect on the market.

Note: A majority of the text in this document is based on the VRA Image Collection Guidelines, available at:

Updated 6/17/2008