Tools for authors

Free online resources for authors

In the Age of Digital Enlightenment, more and more organisations are digitizing data and documents and making them available for free under Creative Commons Licences. These include historical documents, maps, photos, paintings, etc. All can be simply downloaded and included in books, powerpoints or websites, provided you credit the source.

Below you will find a list of websites by various organisations offering access to free maps, photos, documents, etc. Have a look and feast! If you know of more online resources, feel free to drop us a message and we’ll add them to the list!

Instead of including hundreds of pages of data (tables, graphs, etc) in the appendices of your book, you can deposit these digitally in a data repository. Here your data will be stored and archived for future generations. In your appendix you simply present a description of the extra data that is available and a DOI link to your dataset. DANS EASY is a repository for Dutch researchers, but other countries or universities have similar systems.

The New York Public Library digital collections
This collection houses all sorts of historical data such as a collection of over 20,000 Maps, but also many other sources, for example, a simple search for “Egypt“ reveals many historic photos of Ancient Egypt. Just make sure you select the “show only public domain” button.

Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts
The British Library has put online a load of Open Access sources, including these Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts. We already used images from this collection for various books. These include The Marys of Medieval Drama and Middle English Romances in Translation

Het Rijksmuseum/The Dutch National Museum
More and more museums are offering free access to their collections. Now you can download loads of historic paintings and photos of objects, under a CC license. These include all the masterpieces by Rembrandt and many other great Dutch masters.

Biodiversity Heritage Library
The BHL is the world’s largest Open Access digital archive dedicated to life on Earth. At least 150,000 illustrations are available on their Flickr page. You can download single images, or even full albums. For more information you can visit their FAQs about how to access their content.

A largely free to use database of European cultural heritage organizations. It contains historical photos and documents, and archaeological finds from various museums. Before using anything, make sure to check if the image indeed has a Creative Commons license.

Translate with DeepL
We all know Google translate, but a site that offers even better automatic translations is DeepL. This site is amazing, play around with it to experience what it can do. Of course it will not provide you with a ready-to-publish text, but it will help you greatly to get a rough first-version.

Stock photos for covers from
For many of our book covers, we use high-quality photos that we acquire from photo stock sites such as Here you can find millions of high quality stock photos that can be used for your cover, or even as an image in your book. Our basic rule of thumb is: if it is visited by tourists, there will be highres stock photos available. If you see something you like, just let us know.

Experimental archaeology photos

In collaboration with a select group of experimental archaeologists, Sidestone Press offers a unique image licensing service. The focus of our images lies on (pre)historic objects and techniques. They include many series of detailed images showcasing ancient technology in use. These photos should be useful for various archaeology books or museum exhibits. Read more about it in our Image licensing section.

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