Online Image Resources: Pedagogy and Geeky Fun

One of my projects this summer has to do with the use of images in history classes: I’m trying to improve my teaching, and perhaps help others, by scanning pictures1 and identifying online sources for good images, as well as trying to figure out ways to do more with the images in the classroom. There’s been some great discussion of powerpoint and images in the classroom at Edge of the American West over the last week, the upshot of which is that images don’t really help all that much, unless you use them well. Not a surprising result, but the fact is that I use images sparingly in the classroom (and have never used powerpoint) because my training — and natural talents, I think — is heavily textual. I love a good map or chart, and I do use art in class both for cultural history and as historical documentation, but not enough. It’s not about “appealing to visual learners” as much as it is my belief that visual and physical materials are going to be increasingly important in historical analysis, both as sources and as forms of presentation. This isn’t cutting edge theory, or at least it shouldn’t be.

Anyway, that’s by way of preface for some of the stuff I hope to be posting here2 over the next few months: images from my collection, and discussions of what they might mean, historically and pedagogically; other resources for visual materials and commentary on potential uses; links to other discussions of visual analysis; that sort of thing.

So, here’s my first collection of links:

  1. both from books, which has copyright limitations, and from my own collection of slides and digital pictures, which doesn’t (at least for me, which is what matters!)  

  2. and at the other Frog blogs  

  3. peacay, who sent me that link, is a one-stop visual resource too.  


  1. Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for sharing your thought about how to use images. I am interested in this for professional reasons – I am a librarian. I am also glad to see you mentioned the NCC Japanese Image Use Guide-some of my librarian friends worked on this project along with a number of professors. But may I point out that NCC is a Coordinating Council, not a “Clearing Council”? 🙂

    Also thanks for sharing the list of online image resources–some of them are new to me. You probably can find some other useful resources in Duke U’s guide to visual resources on Japan ( This is the most comprehensive one I’ve seen so far.

    Anyway, looking forward to seeing your future posts.


  2. I love the organization of the Duke page: I don’t suppose that database tool is some sort of plug-in or feature an amateur could make use of? I know a few other resources which could be very usefully organized that way.


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