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Selected Internet Resources -- Government Resources for
Science Images and Video

Science Reference Section
Science, Technology, and Business Division
Library of Congress

Image of the Sun
Image of the sun. Courtesy of the EIT
/photo_gallery /photogallery-solar.html


     Most images are protected by copyright and cannot be reproduced without permission from the copyright owner. The exceptions are U.S. Government images, which generally are in the public domain and free from copyright.

     Even though the following image sources are from government Web sites, it is always good practice to make sure that the image is not protected by copyright. One way to do this is to look for the artist credit and copyright symbol (©). If there is a copyright symbol, ©, and a date (©2002) then that image is protected by copyright. If you wish to use a copyrighted image, you will need to seek permission from the copyright owner. Once you are ready to use an image, be sure to include image credit and source.

     The Internet resources below are organized by broad scientific classes. Since many of these sites are interdisciplinary in nature, there may be some overlap.

     For a complete list of Government image Web sites, see the graphics list at



Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Image Gallery
    “The Image Gallery is provided as a complimentary source of high quality digital photographs available from the Agricultural Research Service Information Staff.” Search by keyword or browse for pictures by subject, e.g., animals, crops, insects.

National Agricultural Library (NAL) Special Collections
    “Special Collections houses rare books, manuscript collections, nursery and seed trade catalogs, photographs, and posters relating to a wide range of agricultural subjects. The time span of the historical materials ranges from the 1500’s to the present. Not limited to United States agricultural publications, there are many well-known, international sources. Collection concentrations include the fields of agriculture, horticulture, entomology, poultry sciences, botany, natural history, and agricultural history.” Search by Collection, Finding aid or Gallery.



Astronaut Photography of Earth
     “The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth hosts the best and most complete online collection of astronaut photographs of the Earth.” Search specific collections, e.g., Mission highlights, Earth from Space, Cities, or use the ”Find a Photo” feature.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Great Images in NASA (GRIN)
     “Photos include: aircraft structures, aircraft design, aircraft models, wind tunnel tests, materials research, space programs, astronaut training, robotic planetary exploration and images taken by NASA spacecraft such as the Hubble Space Telescope and Mars Global Surveyor. GRIN contains many, but not all of the most popular images from NASA’s history.” Browse by subject, NASA Center, or perform a keyword search.

National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) Photo Gallery
     The Gallery provides images of planetary items, astronomical objects, and NASA missions.



National Marine Sanctuaries Photo Gallery
     There are twelve marine sanctuaries: Gulf of Farallones, Cordell Bank, Channel Island, Monterey Bay, Olympic Coast, Stellwagen Bank, Gray’s Reef, Florida Keys, Flower Garden Banks, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale, Fagatele Bay and Monitor. Photo galleries represent each sanctuary and its purpose for designation. The photos are arranged into one of five categories (1) The Living Sanctuary; (2) Habitats; (3) People and the Sanctuary; (4) The Sustainable Seas Expeditions (selected sanctuaries only); and (5) The Kids Gallery (selected sanctuaries only).

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Photo Gallery
    There are over 16,000 images representing a broad range of topics including weather, space, oceans, marine species, Polar Regions, coral reefs, and tasks related to the environment and the planet. Also available are albums and catalogs on specific topics, such as the Coral Kingdom.

US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Pictures and Graphics
    “The National Image Library contains still photo images of wildlife, plants, National Wildlife Refuges and other scenics, as well as wildlife management work. You may search all the images through the National Image Library, or you may search by individual collection.” The US Fish and Wildlife Service also has a list of related image galleries at



Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Photo Gallery
    The NRCS Photo Gallery contains natural resource and conservation-related photos from across the USA. Search by state or category.



Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Digital Photo Library
    This web site contains a photo library of BLM digital images related to America’s public lands and natural resources. Search by keyword and choose a state or office you wish to search.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Photo Library
FEMA’s Photo Gallery provides keyword and location searching of natural disasters and national emergencies.

Historical National Weather Service Albums
    Topics include weather wonders, meteorological monsters, hurricanes, exploring the atmosphere, measuring instruments and methods, getting the word out, and who was who.

NASA Visible Earth
    “Visible Earth is a searchable directory of images, visualizations, and animations of Earth.”

National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) Wildland Fire Photographs
    Firepix - an interagency collection of wildland fire-related photos. This page list links to resources for wildland fire images.

National Park Service (NPS) Digital Image Archives
    This site contains images of national parks, monuments, battlefields, and historic sites. To search for images use the “Select Parks” drop-down menu.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Photo Gallery
    There are over 16,000 images representing a broad range of topics including weather, space, oceans, marine species, Polar Regions, coral reefs, and tasks related to the environment and the planet. Also available are albums and catalogs on specific topics such as the Coral Kingdom.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Severe Storm Laboratory Collection
    The Severe Storm Laboratory Collection contains images of tornados, instruments, sky scenes, lightning, and hail.

United States Geological Survey (USGS) Earthquake Image Glossary
    This Web site presents a list of terms related to the study of earthquakes (seismology) along with an image to illustrate each term.

United States Geological Survey (USGS) Earthquake Photos
    This Web site includes images from the Geohazards Collection, e.g., earthquake damage, debris flows, landslides, and auroras from the Hector Mine, Loma Prieta and Nisqually Earthquakes. Links to non-USGS image collection Web sites are also included.

United States Geological Survey (USGS) Multimedia Gallery
    The USGS Multimedia Gallery is the one-stop collection of videos, photography, and other imagery. However, there are many different collections throughout the USGS that are not currently available through the USGS Multimedia Gallery. See for additional collections



Department of Energy (DOE) Digital Archive
    To access the DOE digital archive, you can create an account to use special features; otherwise you can sign in as a guest user. Search by keyword or use the advanced search interface with a drop down menu of a list of topics.

Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Image Gallery
    This Web site provides access to the DOE galleries for the human genome program and image galleries from the National Laboratories.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Photographic Information eXchange (PIX)
    The Photographic Information eXchange (PIX) collection consists of renewable energy and energy efficient technology photographs. Search by keyword of subject or select subject headings from thumbnail images.



United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) Photography and Engineering Drawing Collection
    Currently, the digital images are limited and there is no search feature for the collection. For a description of the Bureau of Reclamation photo archive and engineering drawings see Most of the more than 500,000 images are housed at the National Archives and Records Administration offices in Washington DC and Denver, Colorado. Images are also available at the Bureau’s regional offices around the country and at Archives II in College Park, Maryland.



Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Public Health Image Library
    An extensive collection of material related to public health. “The content is organized into hierarchical categories of people, places, and science, and is presented as single images, image sets, and multimedia files.” Select photographs, illustrations, animation, or audio-visual material.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) History of Medicine Image Gallery
    Search 60,000 images in the prints and photograph collection of the History of Medicine Division (HMD) of the US National Library of Medicine (NLM). “The collection includes portraits, pictures of institutions, caricatures, genre scenes, and graphic art in a variety of media, illustrating the social and historical aspects of medicine.”



Flickr: The Commons
    Flickr Commons project is a collective of national and international institutions that have uploaded publicly held photography collections onto the Flickr Commons Web site. Images found in Flickr Commons site have “No Known Copyright Restrictions“.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs
    “The pictorial collections of the Library of Congress represent an immense fund of human experience, knowledge, and achievement. Works in these collections touch upon almost every realm of human endeavor: science, art, invention, government and political struggle, and the recording of history.” Not all images in the collection are in the public domain. Helpful guides, reference aids, and finding aids to the collections can be accessed at

Compiled by Jennifer Harbster 2004

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   June 5, 2014
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