Wednesday, July 20, 2011

12 Sources of Creative Commons or Public Domain Images

A 2x3 segment panoramic view of the Great Hall...Image via Wikipedia
The search for quality images continues... We have faculty who are creating course materials and in some cases, replacing Fair Use images with public domain or Creative Commons licensed images. There are still some holes in our image searches. The links here are my most recent suggestions but I know that some of these are older than others and besides Wikipedia and advanced Google Searches (which are good), there must be something I am missing.

These are in alphabetical order - not in order of quality or breadth.
  1. American Memory - These are history images from the Library of Congress.
  2. Burning Well - This is one of numerous archives of public domain images.
  3. Cadyu provides public domain and Creative Commons licensed 3-d images of objects. This would be appropriate for a design class, autocad, etc.
  4. Creative Commons Search - This combines multiple search engines and gives you the results in one spot based on license chosen.
  5. Environmental Education Station - These are public domain photos that were funded by an environmental studies grant.
  6. Images in the Public Domain - Many of these are from old encyclopedias. Still useful.
  7. Library of Congress - Most of the images in these holdings are in public domain unless specifically cataloged otherwise.
  8. Public Domain Images - This site collects high quality public domain images.
  9. Public Domain Image links - This is from the University of Wisconsin.
  10. Smithsonian - They encourage educational fair use of all of their images as long as you cite the source. Many of their images are in public domain unless they specify copyright information.
  11. Wikimedia sometimes works... The best way to search wikimedia is to go to Google and type: searchterm  where “searchterm” equals a single word like “photosynthesis.” Notice that there is only a single space AFTER “org.” Do not put a space after the colon.
  12. U.S. Government Public Domain - The US govt. has made it easier to find images that they have produced that are in the public domain. They are freely available and need no permission.
What are we missing? Is there a source that you use? Which of these are best in your experience? We would really appreciate your comments, experiences or suggestions below or in an email to your humble editor. We are especially looking for images around biology. 
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  1. Someone came by in Twitter and reminded us of the MorgueFile: public images for creatives, by creatives.

  2. The Internet Archive:

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  4. Hi, Thanks for this great list of creative commons licenses photos. One i ever use is there you have only cc and public domain license photos. At the moment, the website don't have a lot of photos, but the aviable photos are in a high quality.

  5. Also check out for thousands of free public domain photos