Finding free and open licensed digital images

In the past, finding images for use in educational materials was a very time consuming and often expensive process, requiring time for searching and then time and money for licensing images for reuse. Today, with Creative Commons open licenses and services such as Flickr and Wikimedia Commons, the task of finding and reusing images is much more accessible and straightforward.


This section will introduce you to some ways of finding images and visual materials that are licensed for reuse under Creative Commons. You can search, find and reuse images with confidence, knowing that they are licensed under Creative Commons.


Finding CC images using Flickr



Flickr is an online photo and image service operated by


Flickr has worked with Creative Commons to establish a portal with open licensed images that conform to the CC licensing model. Users of the Flickr service can store their photos and images on Flickr and choose a CC license that will make them available for use and reuse.


Users of the Flickr service who would like to find and use CC licensed images can use the Flickr Creative Commons portal to search for images and download them for reuse based on the conditions of the CC license associated with the image.


Try the Flickr CC portal yourself to search for photos and images that might be useful for courses or educational resources that you are developing. 



Wikimedia Commons for images, video and sound files


Wikimedia Commons is another useful source of images for OER projects.


Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository that provides access to public domain and freely licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips). Like Wikipedia it is designed to work for users in their own language.


Wikimedia Commons acts as a shared repository for the various projects of the Wikimedia Foundation. However, you do not need to belong to one of those projects to use media hosted on the Commons.


Like Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Commons repository is created and maintained by volunteers. There are freely available media files that relate to all of the articles published on WIkipedia and the repository grows as new articles are written and new media files are contributed by users.


Try the Wikimedia Commons repository yourself to search for images, video and sound files that might be useful for courses or educational resources that you are developing.