Friday, 10 March 2017

How to Use Internet Archive on Flickr

You know you can search books and publications by author, creator, title or subject on Internet Archive.  Did you know you can search by image?
And all images are free to use!

Internet Archive has uploaded all the images from its books onto Flickr. Here is how you do a search by image:

Go to Internet Archive Book Images at Flickr


If you use the search box at the top of the page, that will search ALL of Flickr for images, including personal ones and ones that may be copyright.
Instead, look Under the header photo, there is a menu bar with Photostream, Albums, Favorites, Groups then across to the others side, More.  IGNORE all that, Internet Archive did not create any albums or groups etc.  Under More you see a search magnifying glass, that is what you want. Click on the magnifying glass (Fig.1).

Now you will see at the TOP search box, it has changed to searching in the Internet Archive group of photos. (Fig.2) I type in skating (first thing I thought of since where my kids live they are in the deep freeze again in this year's never ending winter), and you see it gives me images from books having to do with skating, including some photos of hockey teams!

Fig 2

Not all images will be relevant, but you may find they do mention skating somewhere in that book.  If you leave the cursor in the search box and hit Enter again, the photos will change somewhat. You can also scroll down.
When you find an image that suits your purpose or interest, click on the photo (I picked the hockey dudes in stripes). There you will see what book the image is from, when the image was taken, any copyright restrictions, how many views it's had, and other info.

To find out more about this image, you have other choices...
View book page: Book Viewer
About this book: catalogue entry
View all images: all images from [this] book.
Click here to view book online to see this illustration in context in a browseable online version of this book.
Choose View the book page or view book online, then switch from single page view to two page view, bottom right. (Fig.3)  This makes it like a flip book.


You can also choose to see multiple pages if you like.
Most books at internet archive are searchable by typing your keyword in the search box, top right. Since this is a book about skating, I wouldn't put skating as my keyword I'll get a million hits!  Instead I can search the name of a city or town, or a surname if I think an ancestor played hockey or skated professionally.
You can use the upper left back arrow to go back to the search.

Experiment with different keywords... try town names, occupations, business names, different sports or games, animals or objects (search woman dress and see what you get!)

Similarly if you use Flickr Commons, don't use the top search box, but scroll down to the search box that says Search the Commons and click the blue search button. This will take you to photos on the internet that have no copyright restrictions. These may contain some personal images that the owner has labeled for reuse.

For either platform it is not necessary to sign up to Flickr to view or download images, but you get other features, like uploading your images and marking images as your favourites, if you sign up. Even though it is a Yahoo login I signed up for my account with my hotmail email (which I use for all things internet).


To download an image use the down arrow and you can choose the size you want (Fig.4). The Star puts the image in your favourites and the share arrow lets you share on social media or embed in a webpage.

Relevant Links

Internet Archive Book Images at Flickr

Flickr Commons

*I thank my fellow blogger Gail for suggesting I write this post.


  1. Oh want to try that one.
    Heard last year that you could search for a photo or the source of it but never had any luck mind you didn't try very long.

    1. It is fun to explore, you never know what else you're going to get! LOL


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