TinEye MatchEngine

Basic information

How to use this tool for use/reuse assessment

TinEye is an image search and recognition company. Its MatchEngine builds on the technology used for its Reverse Image Search by allowing practitioners to conduct queries for instances of images placed on other websites. MatchEngine goes beyond Reverse Image Search by offering practitioners the ability to do multiple or batch queries at one time, using APIs to conduct a search. As a fee-based service, MatchEngine will generate an index of all images a practitioner wishes to search, stores this index on its servers, and queries the index in regular intervals depending on the service package purchased by the practitioner. 

Ethical guidelines

Practitioners should follow the practices laid out in the “Ethical considerations and guidelines for the assessment of use and reuse of digital content.” The Guidelines are meant both to inform practitioners in their decision-making, and to model for users what they can expect from those who steward digital collections.

Additional guidelines for responsible practice

None known.


  • MatchEngine allows a practitioner to query images in batches, making the data collection more efficient and scalable. It is possible to apply MatchEngine to an entire digital collection and run searches in varying intervals. No other reverse image search tool has this batch querying functionality.

  • Results from TinEye MatchEngine can act as data that practitioners can analyze to better understand what users do with digital objects in their collections. TinEye and other reverse image search engines can serve as one important piece to a multi-step assessment process. 

  • TinEye makes product documentation, FAQs, and written tutorials, including information about its search API, available to practitioners.


  • TinEye MatchEngine, like other popular reverse image search tools, is not always 100% accurate. This process may return false positive results.  

  • TinEye MatchEngine, like other other popular reverse image search tools, cannot access content outside of HTML. PDF documents, audio, and video files placed on websites are not queried by TinEye.

  • Practitioners should note that TinEye MatchEngine alone, like other reverse image search tools, will NOT provide the analysis needed to perform a use/reuse assessment. Instead, it can generate a list of data points, which then the practitioner will need to explore further, using a variety of possible methods, to assess the presence and extent of use/reuse. 

  • TineEye MatchEngine is a fee-based service. Associated start up and ongoing costs may not make this a viable approach for practitioners. 

  • A comparison of reverse image search engines suggests that the index that TinEye uses to query images is not as vast or extensive as other image search tools (specifically Google Image Search) so users may find the best success when searching for popular, highly shared images in TinEye.

Alternative tools

Other reverse image search engines operate in similar ways: a practitioner submits an image to the search engine and it displays a list of results. No free reverse image search tools allow users to do batch queries of multiple images. Limited comparisons among reverse image search tool features and functions suggest that Google Image Search has a larger index in which to query. This can translate into a more diverse set of results. 

Additional resources

Adrakatti, A. F., Wodeyar, R. S., & Mulla, K. R. (2016). Search by image: a novel approach to content based image retrieval systemInternational Journal of Library Science, 14(3), 41-47.

Skip to content