Image-Seeking Preferences Among Undergraduate Novice Researchers


  • Laurie Bridges Oregon State University
  • Tiah Edmunson-Morton Oregon State University



academic librarianship, information literacy, visual literacy, archives, digital libraries, undergraduates, freshmen, image seeking beahvior


Objective – This study investigated the image-seeking preferences of university freshmen to gain a better understanding of how they search for pictures for assignments.

Methods – A survey was emailed to a random sample of 1,000 freshmen enrolled at Oregon State University in the fall of 2009. A total of 63 surveys were returned.

Results – The majority of students indicated they would use Google to find a picture. Nineteen respondents said they would use a library, librarians, and/or archives.

Conclusions – The results indicate the majority of students in our study would use Google to find an image for coursework purposes; yet the students who suggested they would use Google did not mention evaluating the images they might find or have concerns about copyright issues. Undergraduate students would benefit from having visual literacy integrated into standard information literacy instruction to help them locate, evaluate, and legally use the images they find online. In addition, libraries, librarians, archivists, and library computer programmers should work to raise the rankings of library digital photo collections in online search engines like Google.


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Author Biographies

Laurie Bridges, Oregon State University

Oregon State University Libraries, Teaching & Engagement Department and Emerging Technology and Services Department. Librarian and Assistant Professor.

Tiah Edmunson-Morton, Oregon State University

Oregon State University Libraries, Archives Department. Archives Reference and Instruction Coordinator.




How to Cite

Bridges, L., & Edmunson-Morton, T. (2011). Image-Seeking Preferences Among Undergraduate Novice Researchers. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 6(1), 24–40.



Research Articles