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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

By Request - Good Alternatives to Google Image Search

This morning I received an email from a reader that has been frustrated by the results her students are getting when they search on Google Images. Rather than relying on the filters on Google Images to generate good results for students, give one of these other sources of images a try.

The Morgue File photo collection contains thousands of images that anyone can use for free in academic or commercial presentations. The image collection can be searched by subject category, image size, color, or rating. You will find a mix of images that don't require attribution along with some that do require attribution so pay attention to the labels that come with each picture. Morgue File is more than just a source for free images. The Morgue File also features a "classroom" where visitors can learn photography techniques and get tips about image editing.

Every Stock Photo is a search engine for public domain and Creative Commons licensed pictures. When you search on Every Stock Photo it pulls images from dozens of sources across the web. If you click on an image in your search results you will be taken to a larger version of the image, a link to the source, and the attribution requirements for using that picture.

Pixabay is currently my go-to place to find and download quality public domain images. You can search on Pixabay by using keywords or you can simply browse through the library of images. When you find an image you can download it in the size that suits your needs. Registered users do not have to enter a captcha code to download images. Users who do not register can download images, but they do have to enter a captcha code before downloading each picture.

Each time that I visit it the Flickr Commons collection seems to have grown. The Commons contains images that have been contributed by more than five dozen libraries and museums around the world. The images are mostly historical in nature.

Earlier this year the Wellcome Library made more than 100,000 drawings, photographs, paintings, and advertisements available to the world under Creative Commons licensing. The images available through the Wellcome Images library are primarily of a historic nature. You can browse the galleries or search for images by keyword.

Unsplash is a Tumblr-hosted site that adds ten new, free, high-resolution images every ten days. I scrolled through the site for quite a while today and found a lot of nice images. The downside to Unsplash is that the site does not have a search function.

You can find more than 85,000 free images through the Getty Museum's Open Content Program. You can download and re-use the images as long as you give proper attribution for the source of the image. Use the Getty Search Gateway to find images in the Getty Museum's Open Content Program. The Getty Search Gateway allows you to filter your search according to material type, topic, name, source, and location. Once you find an image, click the image's title to be taken to its landing page where you can learn more about it, get the required attribution information, and learn more about the history of your chosen image.

The Wikimedia Commons houses thousands of images that you and your students can re-use. Searching in the Wikimedia Commons isn't the most intuitive process which is why I don't recommend it for younger students. Search the Wikimedia Commons by keyword or browse it by category and topic. 

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