Tips for Working with Images

Do you publish blogs, or maybe a Library guide? Or make posters and marketing materials for your Library? Or maybe you are just doing a PowerPoint presentation and need some images to jazz it up a bit?

As many Librarians would be aware, you can’t just go and take any old image from Google Images, because these are usually under copyright and not free to use. Too many times I have seen images with watermarks being used without permission – and the user doesn’t realise that this is what the watermark signifies!

So what images can you use for free?

Well, in Australia, anything under a Creative Commons (CC) licence means the copyright holder had given permission for you to use their works. However, you still need to check what kind of CC license is provided. For example, some CC licenses require you attribute the owner of the work, while others don’t. I usually try to find CC0 public domain images, because then I don’t need to put the attribution below the image (which can look messy on a website or poster).

One of my favourite website to search for CC0 images is Pixabay. It has realistic photographs and icons/cartoon images. There are LOTS of websites that search CC images, I will list some for you at the end of the post – but note that not all these sites find ONLY CC0 images.

Another way to search for CC images (as well as audio, video and more) is through the CC Search website.

You can in fact also use Google Image search, and look for CC images. Under ‘Tools’ select ‘usage rights’ and you can filter by licence – for example ‘labelled for reuse’. But always check the original image and the type of licence, including if it requires attribution.

In addition, in PowerPoint you can search for images under the ‘Insert’ tab > ‘online images’. This will search in Bing, just make sure the license setting is for Creative Commons. Of course, you then still need to check the original source to see which CC license is used and whether you need to provide attribution etc.

Now check out these sites for more:


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