Answered By: Sonya Adams
Last Updated: Sep 10, 2015     Views: 21

As easy as it is to run a Google Images search, it is worth remembering that not everything online is fair game to use. Many images on Google are still bound by copyright restrictions, and you could get in trouble for copying and pasting other people’s images without their permission.

Images that are licensed by Creative Commons are free to use for most non-commercial purposes. They have been licensed by the copyright holder and can be downloaded and shared freely, although it is still good practice to credit the original photographer, artist or institution where possible.

To search for Creative Commons images, go to http://search.creativecommons.org/ . This will bring up a screen where you can type your search terms in a box. You can be as general or as specific as you like, but a general search will bring up more results. Let’s start with a general search term:

You can see on the screenshot above that the search allows you to choose which sites to look for images and other content from. In this case, let’s choose Wikimedia Commons, the image holders for Wikipedia. Click on the box, and it will highlight blue and begin your search. This will take you to another screen off-site, which lists the images relevant to your search term and shows you small thumbnails of each one:creative commons images

You can see on the screenshot above that the search allows you to choose which sites to look for images and other content from. In this case, let’s choose Wikimedia Commons, the image holders for Wikipedia. Click on the box, and it will highlight blue and begin your search. This will take you to another screen off-site, which lists the images relevant to your search term and shows you small thumbnails of each one:

wikimedia commons - the image holder for wikipedia

 

Each image can then be selected by clicking on, bringing up another screen with a larger version of the image, as well as a description including the name of the photographer/artist. There are also buttons on the right to download the image, or share it on a website, that can be clicked to use.

an example of an image from wikimedia commons