U.K.'s Largest Charity Launches Medical Image Collection

Posted on 7/12/2007 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

July 12, 2007

Wellcome Trust, a U.K.-based charity that spends £500 million per year to fund biomedical research, has launched Wellcome Images.

The new online library offers access to an unprecedented number of medical images, manuscripts and illustrations exploring the past and present of the art and science of medicine. The biomedical collection holds more than 40,000 clinical and biomedical science images, selected from teaching hospitals and research institutions.

The collection spans 2,000 years, from Chinese medicine and portraits of the field's pioneers, such as Charles Darwin and Florence Nightingal, to images of molecular models and scenes of contemporary medical practice.

Some of it is highly specialized - obscure medical tools or the surgical instrument case of 18th century Dr. Gillespie. Most, images however, are mainstream, high-caliber, print-resolution stock. A search for "doctor" returns over 1,200 results. These range from an illustration of an anesthesiologist preparing an injection to a photo of a Tanzanian optometrist examining a female patient.

The collection targets noncommercial users, such as teachers and researchers, who have the opportunity to use images free of charge under a Creative Commons license. Catherine Draycott, head of Wellcome Images, says that current image users include teachers, publishers, broadcasters and academics.

For the rest of the world, Wellcome Images operates like a rights-managed stock agency. In addition to the online search engine, image research help is available through professional picture researchers, who are also qualified scientists or historians. They can commission new images to be taken if needed. Commercial licensing fees are determined based on use.

Previously known as the Wellcome Trust Medical Photographic Library, Wellcome Images represents one among several Wellcome Library's major visual collections. The library has more than 750,000 books and journals, over 250,000 works of art and a range of manuscripts, archives and films. Wellcome Images is constantly updated with new clinical, biomedical and historical resources.

While the most historically significant, the Wellcome collection may not be the largest or the most definitive in contemporary medical-image libraries. In early July, two other European specialty agencies announced new launches and distribution deals.

The Ireland-based Moore Film Ltd. launched MedicalRF.com, a collection of 10,000 royalty-free illustrations. Moore Film also owns a 30,000-image rights-managed collection 3D4Medical.com, distributed by Getty Images.

Germany's medicalpicture made arrangements with the Associated Press. AP Images now represents 100,000 photos, graphics, illustrations, animations and videos from the collection of the 5-year-old specialty agency.


Copyright © 2007 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

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