Images

Open Access Images

One of the easiest ways to access images on the web is through Google. However, the majority of images on Google are copyright restricted and cannot be used freely. These sites provide images which are in the public domain and have been licensed by the owner under a Creative Commons license.

Web Repositories

Google Images

Through Google images, a user has the option to sort images based on their license. After completing an image search through Google, a settings bar will appear below the Google search box. In this bar, there is a 'tools' button, after clicking this button a series of limiters will appear, including the option to limit your search by license.

License: Multiple licenses with varying levels of openness

 

Pixabay

Pixabay gives a user access to over 890,000 free photos licensed under a Creative Commons CC0 license. Pixabay allows for keyword searching and also provides a series of categories to browse. Some images on the site are not licensed through Creative Commons and the owner has retained rights to the image. It is important to check the license on the image before using.

License: Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain License

 

Unsplash

Photos through Unsplash are licensed under a Creative Commons CC0 license. The site provides keyword searching and also provides curated collections of images.

License: Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain License

 

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is part of Wikimedia, the company that owns Wikipedia. The site contains over 37 million files which include image, sound, and video recordings. Users will see a distinct similarity in site design between Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia.

License: Creative Commons Share-Alike 3.0

 

Institutional Repositories

Canadian Copyright Collection at the British Library

Within Wikimedia Commons, there is a collection of images from Canada. This collection was owned by the British Library and contains over 4000 images taken between 1895 and 1924. There is a blog post describing the contents and origin of the collection through the website OpenGLAM.

License: Creative Commons Share-Alike 3.0

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

In a blog post published in February of 2017, The Met announced they would be placing all of their public domain images under a Creative Commons CC0 license. This site provides users with over 375,000 images which are now free to use.

License: Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain

 

National Gallery of Art | NGA Images

The National Gallery of Art has allowed over 45,000 of their images to be open access and available to anyone to use. They provide users with basic searching, as well as advanced searching, and the option to browse their continually updated feature image. The images in this collection are believed to be, by the NGA to be in the public domain.

License: No Creative Commons license

 

Europeana Collections

The Europeana Collections is a collection of material from galleries, libraries, archives, and museums from institutions in multiple European countries. Not all images in the collection are free to use. After completing a search, limiters will appear as a sidebar on the results page; one limiter allows a user to limit results to only those which are free for reuse.

License: Multiple licenses with varying levels of openness

 

Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum, a Dutch Museum located in The Netherlands has opened their collection of images to the public. This initiative was completed in conjunction with Europeana Collections. Their collection includes images of paintings by Dutch masters such as Vermeer and Rembrandt.

License: Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain

 

European Southern Observatory

The European Southern Observatory ESO has a portion of their website devoted to images which are free to use. The images section of their website contains photographs related to space. Many of these are of stars, galaxies, and instruments on earth used to take photographs. The ESO has created a series of top-level categories which group the pictures by subject matter.

License: Creative Commons License