Friday, 18 May 2012

Finding images on the web

Increasing attention is being brought to the common activity of searching Google Images to find and reuse useful photographs/artworks/etc in teaching and learning materials. The real problem with this, is that the authors of the images may not be happy for you to actually reuse their work - it's not too different-a-concept to referencing academic works really...

So what can we do about it? 

Well there are various sites you can use to find images that you can safely reuse. These images might be licensed under Creative Commons licenses (this post introduces these), or might even be Royalty-free (meaning you don't even have to attribute the author).

This tutorial from JISC Digital Media on Using the Internet for Image Searching is particularly useful as it goes through 4 stages of Judge, Discover, Tour, and Success (see image below); as well as their advice for Finding Video, Audio and Images Online.

Image taken from jiscdigitalmedia: Finding Video, Audio & Images Online

The latter of these examples suggests a number of sites for finding both collections of images specifically for Education (which appear particularly useful for historical images in all fields) as well as Creative Commons and other free collections. Some of these include;

  • Everystockphoto - searches across several free-to-use image sites (incl Flickr's Creative Commons images - see below)
  • Flickr - Creative Commons advanced search - use Flickr's advanced search page to include only photos (or short video clips) that have a Creative Commons licence. See also our advice document Finding Images on Flickr
  • Flickr - The Commons - a number of publicly-held photographic collections from around the world use Flickr to share images that have 'no known copyright restrictions'

  • I particularly like the ability to search multiple collections using the search feature from, but you can easily check out the links to specific collections above, and don't forget you can also use Google's Advanced Search to find images suitably licensed - this short video shows you how you can filter the search....

    As somewhat of an aside, concepts such as Creative Commons are directly associated to the Open Content Movement, allowing educators and self-learners to reuse existing content. This Introduction to the Open Content Movement will provide a useful starting point to understand the movement, along with this post introducing the Creative Commons licenses. You'll be reusing videos from MIT and Stanford in no time :-)

    If you would like to discuss any of these points, feel free to get in touch.

    Creative Commons License
    This work by Peter Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

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