We’re closing off the week with a post on sourcing and using good images, and as I reflect on this subject, I realise I tend to refrain using images in my written work as much as possible – I lack confidence in my ability to use them well, and so I avoid using them altogether.
It’s not so much that I don’t know where to look – I am aware of resources such as Pixabay, as well as Google Image Search (although I was not aware that it was possible to filter the latter to show only Creative Commons-licensed images) – and more that I find it difficult to use pictures in a way that looks clear, effective, and appropriate, and doesn’t either overpower accompanying text or sit awkwardly beside it. And so I end up creating image-free slideshows, guides, and other resources.
As with so many other elements of the 23 Research Things programme, this activity has encouraged me to try to get over my fear of failure, and put in more work into my use of images. After all, I’m very confident in creating text-based content (whether that’s a piece of academic writing, a training presentation, or more informal writing such as a blog post), but I wasn’t when I started out: I got better with practice.
I decided, therefore, to use this Thing’s post for a practical purpose: to attempt to search for the kind of images I frequently need for promotional material in my library (especially for posters announcing changes to normal practice in the library, such as early closures, building work being done in a quiet study room, etc). I found the image I’ve uploaded below on Pixabay, by searching for the term ‘studying’, and I selected it because it was non-specific (no visible names on books, and therefore no obvious subject of study), and modern-looking (no worn old books or yellow lamplight), which is the sort of look I’d be going for in promotional posters in my library. As it’s from Pixabay, no attribution is required.
However, much as I like this image, I can already tell that it wouldn’t work very well with text – it’s too white, and the area where the text would have to go (the bottom right-hand corner) would drown out any text with the blurry writing on the photographed pages. Clearly, I’ve got a way to go with this image-sourcing work! But at least it’s a start.