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Online Reference Sources for Cataloging Visual Materials

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 20540-4730

Librarians and archivists who describe photographs, cartoons, posters, drawings, prints, and other visual materials rely on a wide variety of Web-based reference sources to gather or confirm cataloging data. This selected list covers sources that can help you discover information about the creators, subjects, and geographical locations that commonly occur with still pictures. The list also cites tools for recognizing and translating foreign languages; for converting measurements and dates; for identifying formats and types of visual materials; and for dating images.

The selected resources represent free Web sites used by Library of Congress staff to catalog material in a general documentary picture collection. Many of the sites feature visual images for easy comparison to what you are cataloging. Suggestions for additional resources are welcome. Subscription-based internet resources are also valuable and should be consulted when available. Most subscription databases at the Library of Congress are available only for on-site access.

For a list of standards and tools used to create catalog records, see the "Visual Materials: Cataloging and Processing Bibliography."

Disclaimer icon The Library of Congress does not maintain most of these sites. Users should direct concerns about these links to their respective site administrators or webmasters.

Table of Contents


Chicago Public Library -- Selected Internet References

Digital Librarian: A Librarian's Choice of the Best of the Web

Internet Public Library

Librarians' Index to the Internet

OAIster (University of Michigan) -- digital images from many sources

Picture Catalogs Online

Online Encyclopedias (Western Washington University, Western Libraries)


Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia

Art and Architecture

Catalogue of American Engravings (American Antiquarian Society)

ArchNet - Islamic Architecture (Massachusets Institute of Technology)

Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Early American Paintings (Worcester Art Museum)

Great Buildings Collection

Lighthouses (Internet Public Library)

Mother of all Art History (University of Michigan)

Washington, D.C., Statues, Monuments, and Memorials (Kitty Tours)


Creators of Pictures (Architects, Artists, and Photographers)

Art Cyclopedia -- famous painters, sculptors, and photographers and art movements

Cartoonists, cartoons, and comics

George Eastman House database of photographers

Getty Union List of Artist Names Online

World Wide Arts Resources -- art history resources for artists and art movements

People Shown in Pictures

American Presidents: Life Portraits (C-SPAN)

Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (National Park Service)

First Lady's Gallery (White House)

Find a Grave

Social Security Death Index

Who's Alive and Who's Dead

Clothing and Dress

Costumer's Manifesto

La Couturière Parisienne

Solemates: The Century in Shoes

Conversion Tables (Dates, Measures, and Transliterations)

ALA-LC Romanization Tables

Dates across several calendars

Date and day of week in different years

Measuring Units Conversion

Roman Numeral Conversion

Roman Numeral Dates Table

Time and date (includes world clock)

Dictionaries, Thesauruses, and Translators


Archival and Records Terminology (Society of American Archivists)

Art Terms

British Museum Object Names Thesaurus


Controlled Vocabularies (comprehensive list)

Dictionaries, Thesaurus, etc.

Dictionary, Thesaurus, & Translator:

MeSH (Medical Subject Headings)


Multilingual Glossary for Art Librarians

Omniglot: A Guide to Written Language

Oxford English Dictionary





Columbia Gazetteer of the World

Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names Online

National Geographic Map Machine

Geographic Names Information System (for features in the United States)

GeoNet Names Server (for features outside the United States)

Place name dictionaries (University of Washington Libraries)

University of Texas Map Collection

History and Culture

United States


Internet Public Library: American History



General History

Library of Congress Country Studies

Middle East Virtual Library

Portals to the World (Web sites on different countries selected by LC area specialists)

Timelines of History

Victorian Dictionary (text and images, with maps for orientation to 19th century London)

Media Identification

Alternative Photography

Art & Architecture Thesaurus

Digital Print Identification

Graphic Witness (illustrations and political cartoons)

Moving image genre list

Human locomotion, optical toys, and more.


Printmaking techniques

Thesaurus for Graphic Materials II: Genre & Physical Characteristic Terms


Encyclopedia Mythica

Greek Mythology Link


Theoi Project: Guide to Greek Gods, Spirits, & Monsters


Animals A to Zoo

Mountain peaks

National parks (United States)

Plants database

Performing Arts




Theater on Broadway


Catholic Encyclopedia

Catholic History

Jewish Virtual Library

New Catholic Dictionary

Direct link to patron saints index

Religious Studies Web Guide


Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Great Lakes Ships (photo gallery)

Historic Naval Ships

Passenger Ships of the Great Lakes


Baseball parks

Baseball players


Compiled by Arden Alexander and Woody Woodis, Catalogers, Technical Services Section, 2004. Last updated: July 2005

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  April 25, 2006
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