Discover Images and Avoid Copyright Violations

When our 21st Century learners look for images, the first inclination is to go to Google Images. Unfortunately that is where most people stop once they have identified a useful image at Google. Much of the time students do not proceed to the original source or find more than a web address (often the wrong one) for attribution. We can show them better ways — dozens of better ways, actually.

Below are links to all sorts of sites that feature images that students and teachers can use as a part of instructional activities or project presentations. Some of these sites require specific types of attribution (giving credit to the site, artist, photographer, etc.), and usually the instructions are clear, so users should pay attention to the attribution requirements. Many of the image collections below link to or at least list other image sites. Note that on government sites (.gov) most of the images are in the public domain. Teachers will also want to read Learning About Creative Commons (and perhaps share with students) — a PDF that describes the alternative to traditional copyright procedures.

Learn More About Using Digital Images

Find more information about the millions of images at the United States Library of Congress (LOC).  The EdTech Teacher website features an excellent post, Finding Public Domain Images for Multimedia Projects. Fair Use allows copyrighted material to be used for teaching, research, or scholarship. Read more about fair use at the Columbia University Copyright Advisory Office or read/download A Quick Guide to Fair Use and School Projects on the Power to Learn/Cablevision site. Some of the sites below include stock photos.

Specific Image or Image Search Sites                             

US Government Images

Museums or University Sites

(includes some university libraries)


Other Image Collections or Search Sites

If you check out many of these sites and still don’t find what you are searching for, you can also visit the Clearinghouse of Image Databases posted at the Council on Libraries and Information Resources, though going through this resources takes some time and legwork.


One Response

  1. […] Move away from Google images. Explain that Google is just a collection and demonstrate the dozens of image collections available for students to use. Read Discover Images and Avoid Copyright Violations. […]

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