Searching the content library

Nov 28, 2017

Anyone have some tips on narrowing down a search of content libray. For example the search for Small bottle, Small AND Bottle, "Small bottle" all have the same results mostly nothing to with bottles at all?

The search for "ampule' shows one picture, that's really a test tube whereas the search for "pharmacy" eventually shows some ampules. It also shows a lot of unrelated images, a table set for dinner, an image of a lake and various food images?

I seem to be spending more time searching the content libray than i used to search the internet.

25 Replies
Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi David, 

While I’m not sure exactly what you’re looking for (I had to look up ampule!), I wanted to share my colleague Trina's process for honing in on the best photos or assets.

Start with a little word association since one word can mean a lot of different things. Let’s say I need a picture of someone falling for a workplace safety course. If I search “fall,” I end up with lots of images of waterfalls and fall foliage. But if I search for a related term like “safety,” I’m more likely to find something that works.

It can also help to think contextually to broaden your image options. Instead of searching for “boss” or “businessman,” I might search for environments or situations where you’d find those types of people. I’ve found that the results of this approach are relevant to my course and also help me convey the right feeling for my content.

In addition to her tips, there is a great article here on searching for Content Library assets. 

David Crocker

Thanks Ashley. I did actually read both of those references before posting. I did guess that perhaps ampule was an outdated word as such so that's why i searched for Small bottle and eventually Pharmacy as sugessted by Trina. I think the most frustrating thing is that there seems to be a lot of unrelated images. I can't see what a picture of a dessert, landscape, table set for dinner or a girl on a horse has to do with the word "Pharmacy". I think that the way the images are tagged and how the search works needs to be refined. Having Millions of images at my disposal is great but not being able to search it properly turns that great asset into a liability. One of the big draws to 360 for me was the content library and right now I am very frustrated with it.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi David, 

Those images would definitely be confusing when searching for pharmacy! 

I tested out "pharmacy" this am as a search term, and didn't see the dinner table or the girl on a horse? I did see some landscapes and mountaintops which are always a bit of natural medicine for me! Here is a link to my results for photos and illustrations.

The search terms and results are something we'll keep refining, so this is great feedback I'll pass along to the team. 

Crystal Horn

Hi there, Dale and Ray.  Thanks for being honest about the amount of effort you're putting into your searches.  We're always listening so we can improve your experiences, so I'll continue the discussion with my team.  I hope the ease with which you can insert the hi-res results at least helps to keep your project moving!

Dale, I tried searching for "rest" and had some good results.  I'm not sure of what setting you need, but hopefully with some key words in that area (rest, relax, etc), you can find what you need.

Ray, I agree it was a bit more challenging to narrow down my search to what you were looking for.  I tried "meeting," "argument," and even "teamwork," and I found some neutral-looking groups of people meeting professionally that could be interpreted as "angry."  I understand that you're looking for that perfect visual embodiment to go with your course, and I really hope we can help you find it.

Let us know if you run into any other snags along the way.

Abigail Cherry

It would be really nice to be able to search the content library more thoroughly! Adding some filters would be very helpful in terms of usability. I'm trying to look for candid photos of a young group of diverse friends and finding it a bit challenging but I'm also looking for something specific. It would be helpful to have some of the same refining abilities of istock, like searching horizontal and vertical, color, number of people etc. would be awesome! Just a tip!

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Dale,

It looks like you've responded earlier in this discussion and as such are probably still subscribed to receive email notifications.

You'll see a new email each time someone responds here. If you'd like to unsubscribe you can visit this forum discussion and unclick the "Subscribed" option at the top. 

Dan Epstein

I know this is an old thread, but I was hoping to find some advice on how to get better results when searching the content library. I'm having the same kind of problems finding imagery as the other posters. What I don't understand is why typical search features aren't offered here, like "and" and "or" and the use of quotation marks, etc.

I entered social media post and got some social media related material followed immediately by  a lot of pictures of street lamps. I've also tried the synonym and word association approach to little effect. I also tried social media thread to no avail. I feel like I have to outsmart the system to get what I want. 

Like others, I'd really like to know how the search is actually working. Perhaps that way we can fine tune our searches and get things that are more relevant. Of course, it would be great if typical search features were implemented.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Crystal Horn

Hi Dan. I appreciate you sharing! Our search results are populated based on how well your search terms match tags that our content providers use on each of their images. We're continuing to explore how to improve search results, and this discussion is set to be updated with any new information.

I tried "comments" and found some additional images that might be useful for you. Are you trying to find an image of a social media thread on Twitter, for example?

Dan Epstein


Thanks for the reply. I was actually trying to see if there was an image of a Twitter or FB thread so I wouldn't have to mock one up myself. 

I hadn't thought to look for "comments" because "post" is the common terminology (both verb and noun) for putting an item on social media. I'll mention that my "comments" search under Illustrations included an illustration of a 6-foot table with folding legs. Not sure why.

Understanding that the system is looking at tags is helpful. For "social media post" it seems to be looking at "social media" and then "post." Looking at my results set, then, I'd like to be able to eliminate all the streetlight photos by adding something like NOT streetlight AND NOT lamppost etc. 

In addition to Load More Results, there needs to be a Refine Results option. 


Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Thanks, Dan for the added insight! We'll be sure to keep you posted on any changes to how the Content Library search works or as we continue to refine the results. 

I'd also think about other words for post - "discussion", "message", "forum" all returned some slightly different results that may fit your needs. It's a bit like a word association game! 🔎 

Katie Riggio

Hi, Chrissie. Thank you for bringing this to our attention!

I've reported it to our content team, where they'll look into how these images are tagged for searching and if there's anything we can update. If images are deemed inappropriate, we'll be sure to remove it.

We're actively exploring how to improve search results, and will keep this discussion updated on any new developments!

Karen Wicks


I've just had a ticket resolved by Articulate Support regarding the content library. Searching for "data protection" got the results, but the quotation marks caused an error and I couldn't insert the images. Using data AND protection got images of data protection but also bananas wearing condoms! Data protection also gets me the bananas!

The content library needs to allow quotation marks around search terms as this is a standard way of searching for exact phrases. It has been logged as a bug though. But not sure of it's priority for fixing.


Michael Hardin

I know this thread is a little old, which makes it more concerning that he usability of the Content Library search engine is still difficult to use.  I get so many unrelated images. 

I work in the electric industry and if I search for, transmission tower, it starts with a lot of transmission tower images... which is good.  However, if I search for transmission tower damaged, it immediately shows lighthouses, London Bridge, a guy on a bridge, skyscrapers, and after pressing "Load More Results" 10 times I'm still not seeing transmission towers, but I am seeing a couple at sunset, a horse, a waterfall.  The search engine is unreliable and unpredictable. 

It needs the ability to use operators.  I would rather be able to put in Transmission AND Towers AND Damaged and get No Results Found.  Instead, that search starts with a woman in a one-piece swimsuit with the words "BABE WATCH" on it, then buildings, etc. How is that remotely related?  I went to the end of that search and not one transmission tower.  It is very frustrating and time consuming and for this search useless. 

Math Notermans

As the Articulate 360 Content Library especially for photos uses 'Unsplash' ( ) in the background. You better off directly searching on Unsplash. Better search and download options. Alas by default Tower Bridge also shows there when searching for ...apparently they use Unsplash including its search engine... Checking the searchengine used on Unsplash they apparently use Tags uploaders add to any given image. So if a tag isnot present it will ignore that and show only existing ones... the content Library just uses that directly...

Math Notermans

The content library uses Unsplash and its searchengine directly. Searching for 'transmission tower' indeed gives a lot of towers. Searching however 'transmission tower damaged' gives unwanted results including the Tower Bridge. Both in the content library and on Unsplash. Showing Articulate implemented the Unsplash search method without thinking about if it is good enough. And although i do like Unsplash the search method is not good enough. As Michael Hardin says you need operators that work. And indeed i too rather have no results instead of unwanted ones.