18 Places to find Open Images

Many faculty want to include images in their texts. That’s fine as long as the images are 1) created by the faculty member or the OER team or 2) licensed appropriately for reuse. Here are some recommended places to find images that are openly licensed. Always check the license.

A quick video tutorial on finding openly licensed images

Openly Licensed Images

Google Images
  • Go to Advanced Image Search for images
  • In the “all these words” box, type what you want to search.
  • In the “Usage rights” section, use the drop-down to choose what kind of license you want the content to have.
  • Select Advanced Search.
Creative Commons search engine “CC Search aggregates image search results across many public repositories. Results include public domain and openly licensed works. The tool includes a one-click button for image attribution.”
Unsplash Read the license: https://unsplash.com/license
Flikr “Many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license, and you can browse or search through content under each type of license.”
CSIRO Science Image
Europeana Millions of items from a range of Europe’s leading galleries, libraries, archives and museums … [including] [b]ooks and manuscripts, photos and paintings, television and film, sculpture and crafts, diaries and maps, sheet music and recordings…” Enter your search; on search results page, use the filters for “Can I use it?” or “By copyright” to filter for public domain and/or openly licensed works.
Wikimedia Commons
Noun Project “Creative Commons licensed icons/symbols in black and white. Registration/free account required to download materials.” Use the basic download option. An attribution will automatically be added to the image.
NASA Image Galleries Public domain photos. See NASA terms of use page.
Public Health Image Library (PHIL)
“Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Types of image categories/collections include influenza, natural disasters, environmental health, bioterrorism, health behaviors and more.”
Encyclopedia of Life
PLOS Biology, medicine, computational biology, genetics, pathogens, neglected tropical diseases
Pixabay Free images and royalty-free stock Pixaby has it’s own type of licenses so be sure to check that you can use the image

Art and Art History

Many museums and libraries also have images online that can be used under a Creative Commons license.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Selected artworks are available under the Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) license. Users must search the collection and check individual items for the OASC icon. Refer carefully to the site Terms and Conditions and the FAQs about the OASC license to see if this license applies to the proposed use of the material.
New York Public Library
The Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Reading Room The collection “include[s] photographs, historical prints, posters, cartoons, documentary drawings, fine prints, and architectural and engineering designs,” with an emphasis on U.S. materials. Review the “Rights Advisory” statement included with the metadata for individual items.
Art Institute of Chicago
The British Library “A collection of over 1 million public domain images from digitized copies of 17th, 18th, and 19th-century books.”
Getty’s Open Content Program: “Digital images of works believed to be in the public domain in the U.S. from the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute’s collections. Digital images are made available for free and without restriction. “
National Gallery of Art: “Collections include digital images of public domain works made available under the Gallery’s open access policy.”
OpenGLAM: “Open collections of images from galleries, libraries, archives, and museums from around the world. Collections include public domain and Creative Commons licensed materials.”


Noun Project https://thenounproject.com/
Hand drawn goods http://handdrawngoods.com/freebies/
Icon Finder https://www.iconfinder.com/ After you search for a topic, click on the free button on the left


All descriptions taken from Find Public Domain and Openly Licensed Materials by the Ohio State University Libraries licensed under a CC BY Creative Commons license 4.0


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