Vast collection of illustrations from the Wellcome Library is now available over the internet in a recently opened Wellcome Images, presented under the Creative Commons License, which allows users to copy, distribute and display images, provided the source is fully attributed and it is used for non-commercial purposes. Shown above is the cut-away model of the human HIV virus.
Everything from an oil painting of Florence Nightingale and a picture depicting Charles Darwin as an ape, to a photograph of Alexander Fleming in his laboratory are part of this unique collection. The images aid teachers and researchers to illustrate themes from medical and social history through to contemporary healthcare and biomedical science, and to bring complex biomedical concepts to life. Catherine Draycott, Head of Wellcome Images, explains:
“Wellcome Images is an invaluable tool for teachers and researchers of medical history, health, and clinical and biomedical sciences. Through visuals users are able to develop a more profound understanding of human and animal biology, and can use them in their research and teaching. What is unusual for a picture library of this nature is that the online service is completely free.
“A range of diverse industries currently use our images – including teachers, publishers, broadcasters and academics. By involving these user groups in developing this new site, we believe the enhanced interface will be easier and faster to use.”
Professor Hal Cook, Director of The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, comments:
“The Wellcome Library’s collection of images that appears online is simply superb. Full of visual resources from antiquity to the present, from Chinese medicine to molecular models, from portraits of individual people to scenes of medical practice, it is an invaluable resource for teaching and research in the history of medicine and related subjects. The new website greatly facilitates viewing the images, making them more accessible; this is a big step forward in the Library’s efforts to serve all the members of the public who have an interest in medicine’s past.”
Users of Wellcome Images will also be able to access the advice and expertise of professional picture researchers who are qualified scientists or historians. They can help users find images, provide background information, commission new images to be taken and provide access to high-resolution images.