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Library Resources for the First Year Student: Images

Image Searching

An Exploration:

  • When searching for images it is important to be flexible, creative, and remember it may take more than one try to find adequate results
  • You can try searching databases with keywords or browsing collections but whatever method you choose remember to look for images that have a clear copyright message (you want free to use and change). You will still need to provide attribution - a proper citation. See the search bot example below.

Notes on Creative Commons & Attribution

About CC (from the Creative Commons Website):

What is Creative Commons and what do you do?

Creative Commons is a global nonprofit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through the provision of free legal tools. Our legal tools help those who want to encourage reuse of their works by offering them for use under generous, standardized terms; those who want to make creative uses of works; and those who want to benefit from this symbiosis. Our vision is to help others realize the full potential of the internet.

What are Creative Commons licenses?

Creative Commons licenses provide an easy way to manage the copyright terms that attach automatically to all creative material under copyright. Our licenses allow that material to be shared and reused under terms that are flexible and legally sound. Creative Commons offers a core suite of six copyright licenses. Because there is no single “Creative Commons license,” it is important to identify which of the six licenses you are applying to your material, which of the six licenses has been applied to material that you intend to use, and in both cases the specific version.

All of our licenses require that users provide attribution (BY) to the creator when the material is used and shared. Some licensors choose the BY license, which requires attribution to the creator as the only condition to reuse of the material. The other five licenses combine BY with one or more of three additional license elements: NonCommercial (NC), which prohibits commercial use of the material; NoDerivatives (ND), which prohibits the sharing of adaptations of the material; and ShareAlike (SA), which requires adaptations of the material be released under the same license.

Creative Commons Licensing Information (for images, etc.)

'Creative Commons licenses give everyone from individual creators to large institutions a standardized way to grant the public permission to use their creative work under copyright law. From the reuser’s perspective, the presence of a Creative Commons license on a copyrighted work answers the question, “What can I do with this work?” '

CC Licenses

Creative Commons Image Wordpress (

Searchable database w/ filters for license type; search for images and sound.

Google Images ( 

Note: See screen-shot image below; Google Images does not display CC licensed images as a default, but users can filter for free images. 

StockVault ( 

Note: StockVault, like Google, does not default to CC licensed images, but can be filtered as such.


Josh Ellingson (Creator). (2010). Physical search box [Cartoon].

Retrieved from

CC Images Attribution Tutorial

This quick video tutorial will help get creators in the mindset of attributing CC images to their creators: