Reverse Image Lookup: Assessing Digital Library Users and Reuses



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Reverse image lookup technology was used to assess the users and reuses of images from the Library of Congress’Teaching with Primary Resources digital collection. After selecting 44 images for the study, researchers used Google Reverse Image Lookup to generate a dataset of over 1,400 URLs. Drawing upon a coding rubric designed for a previous study on the ultimate uses of digital library materials, researchers coded the data to identify who uses these images and for what purposes. They found that the most popular type of user was “personal," which aligns with previous work and indicates that a pattern is emerging between ultimate use and the personal user type. Additionally, the study’s results indicate that social media and popular culture research outnumbered any other type of reuse. This article introduces reverse image lookup as a viable and approachable tool for digital library assessment, and discusses its implications for assessment and content selection.

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in The Journal of Web Librarianship on October 3, 2016, available online:



digital library, reuse, reverse image lookup, ultimate use, users, Digital libraries, Reuse, Reverse image lookup, Ultimate use, Users