creative commons

A guide to the best free sites for cc0 art and stock photography

I recently wrote a guide for my library's blog on the best sites for high quality, free, and public domain images. I've recreated part of it below.

These sites are hugely useful for marketing purposes, as you can use them in websites, posters, slides, on social media (but NOT insta! That needs your own photos on...) and so on, completely legally and without shelling out any cash.

The sites listed below contain images which have been made Creative Commons Zero (also known as CCO) by their creators, are available to use by anyone, however they like. The images are in the Public Domain and can be reproduced, incorporated into other works, modified, and reused, without needing permission and in most cases without even needing to credit the author.

Free to use stock photography

Pexels

Pexels is the CC0 site I go to first when creating slides or websites. It's good on technology particularly, but covers loads of areas well, with stock photography that is far above the average stock shots. It has tens of thousands of pictures, including the ability to search by colour, and also has a sister site dedicated to CC0 video.

A selection of images found using pexels.com's colour browsing facility

A selection of images found using pexels.com's colour browsing facility

Stocksnap

Once you start using CC0 image sites you get used to seeing the same stock photography appearing on many of them (it comes with the territory, as the fact that the copyright has no restrictions means any site can pick them up and use them - you could start an image bank right now using CC0 images if you wanted to), but Stocksnap seems to have a few more pictures which are unique to it. Thanks to Hilary and Luke who showed me this at the PPRG conference. Here's the 'recently added images' from today:

The most recent additons to StockSnap.io

The most recent additons to StockSnap.io

nappy.co

Nappy describes itself as “Beautiful, high-res photos of black and brown people. For free” and this is a rare thing: stock photography is often VERY white. Thank you to @AgentK23 for giving me the heads-up about this site.

Photos from the ‘Work’ category of nappy.co

Photos from the ‘Work’ category of nappy.co

finda.photo

finda.photo (that's the actual URL as well as the name) searches through lots of other CC0 sites in one go, including the excellent UnSplash. As well searching by keyword you can browse by colour, collection, or original source.

Images from the 'Glare' category of finda.photo

Images from the 'Glare' category of finda.photo

Interestingly after I tweeted this, Unsplash got in touch with a reply, and pointed out that finda.photo only searches a relatively small percentage of their photos:

I had no idea this was the case! So, worth going direct to Unsplash.com too.

Gratisography

For some pictures that are about as far away from tired stock photography cliches as it is possible to get, head over to Gratisography. Quirky, odd images, of extremely high resolution and quality, free to use in any way you see fit. There's really nothing quite like it.

Gratisography. Not your average stock photography site

Gratisography. Not your average stock photography site

RawPixel

A new site for me is RawPixel. They got in touch after reading an earlier version of this guide and I'm happy to include them - if you work in design this site must be a godsend. There's a real variety here, not just in terms of the images but the way they're grouped and organised - check out the Boards section to see what I mean. Just for this image alone I will be using their site again - images of teaching seem to be almost impossible to find!

Finally a decent image of 'teaching' happening! And they've ever-so-helpfully left a lovely big copyspace on the board for you to write in whatever you like...

Finally a decent image of 'teaching' happening! And they've ever-so-helpfully left a lovely big copyspace on the board for you to write in whatever you like...

UKBlackTech

These aren't cc0 - they're Creative Commons Attribution - but I wanted to include them because they're a set of tech-focussed images focusing on BAME protagonists. It's great that UKBlackTech have made these available for free.

Download these images at ukblacktech.com

Download these images at ukblacktech.com

Free to use art and artwork imagery

An absolute ruddy masterpiece, from 1565, available to you, reader, to do with as you please, thanks to The Met

An absolute ruddy masterpiece, from 1565, available to you, reader, to do with as you please, thanks to The Met

  • New York Met

    375,000 images of artworks from The Met's collection to use, share, and remix without restriction. And it's the New York Met, so they have some of the most famous paintings in the world, like Bruegel's The Harvestors from 1565. 

  • Walters Art Museum

    Because the Walters owns or has jurisdiction over the objects in its collection and owns or customarily obtains the rights to any imaging of its collection objects, it has adopted the Creative Commons Zero: No Rights Reserved or CC0 license to waive copyright and allow for unrestricted use of digital images and metadata by any person, for any purpose.

  • Riks Museum Amsterdam

    The Dutch Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam has opened its collection to the public with the majority of its photographed artwork being released under a CC0+ license that requires attribution. You must create a free account in order to download.

  • Getty Museum

    Thousands of images of artworks are available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program. Look for the Download button under the image.

  • Yale Center for British Art

    The Center provides free and open access to images of works in the public domain and certain other materials, and hopes to encourage further the use and reuse of its public domain resources by all who may have access to them.

  • Europeana Collections

    Europeana provides an extraordinary 8 million images which are completely free to re-use, covering the areas of Art, Fashion, Maps & Geography, Migration, Natural History, Music and others.


If you have any more suggestions for great CC0 sites, let me know with a comment below and we'll add them to the list.

A new and unlikely source of free stock photos!

 

There's a movie out called Unfinished Business. It stars Vince Vaughn. And as part of the publicity for it, the filmmakers have teamed up with Getty (who run iStock Photo) to make some stock photography freely available for editorial (i.e. non-commercial) use. This is a really nice idea!

It's a good bit of marketing (although as I say in my workshops, the vast majority of marketing doesn't work directly; I'm just as unlikely to go see the film as I was before...) and the photos themselves are great. I can imagine them being quite effective in information literacy sessions...

My favourite one is this:

If you want to get hold of these, you need to do so quickly - it's a limited time promotion. The first 4 pictures are available direct from Getty here; apparently the next 8 will be released in two weekly batches soon, via this page. Or you can look at all of them here on Adweek.

These are great because they capture the utter ludicrousness of most stock photography, and then amp it up further by having people look in the wrong direction. In the original of the one above (which was done in photoshop) the guy is looking at the camera - that at least makes a kind of sense - but in the Vaughn version he looks like he has no idea he's in a photoshoot.

Similarly in this one...

... the fact he's looking away just reminds you how barmy the whole conceit is, with the other actors looking at a (presumably blank) screen and grinning out how damn productive they all are, as the camera just happens upon this real-life office moment.

So can someone weave these into a library related presentation or teaching session? I'm going to try to for my Film & TV students, but I'd love to see examples from others too - leave me a link in a comment.

The Student Guide to Social Media is now fully reusable!

 

This actually happened at the end of last year but I didn't get around to blogging about it at the time. It's about the Student Guide to Social media - there's background info below and in a previous blogpost written when it first arrived.

Click this image to open the Student Guide to Social Media in a new window

Click this image to open the Student Guide to Social Media in a new window

It was always Creative Commons so anyone can use it, but now we've taken the ND (Non-Derivative) part off, so it's just CC-BY-NC. In other words you can take it and do whatever you want with it, including repurposing it, remixing it, taking only certain bits of it and not others, and generally reusing it in a flexible way.

It was made in Articulate, and the Articulate source file is available via JORUM. So if you want to use it to make something new, please go for it.

Whenever we talk about or use this in York the students are really responsive - it often gets rated as 'the most useful aspect' of infolit sessions. There's a growing awareness among undergraduates that social media can play a professional and academic role in their lives, but they often don't know where to start - so this overview is something they find helpful.

There's a bit more info about the Student Guide to Social Media on JISC's Digitial Student pages, too.

Steal this: Student Guide to Social Media

If you click the image below, you'll be taken to the Student Guide to Social Media. This is an interactive online resource, giving information on various social media platforms, and on tasks you can accomplish using social media - it is aimed primarily at undergraduates but has applications across the board. It is made available under a BY-NC-ND Creative Commons licence: in other words if you think this resource might be of use to YOUR students, feel free to use this, link to this, make it part of your own institution's website, just as long as you credit the creators (the BY part), aren't using it for commercial purposes (the NC part) and use it entirely as it is, in its current state, rather than creating your own version or derivatives (the ND part).

A screenshot of the resource's homepage

 

Alternatively, book mark libassets.manchester.ac.uk/social-media-guide/ or click the link to open the resource in a new window.

A Northern collaboration

The resource is the result of a joint project between the Libraries of the Universities of Leeds, Manchester and York, developed over the Summer. Michelle Schneider from Leeds' very successful Skills@Library team approached me about working together on a social media resource for undergraduates - I was extremely pleased she did, because it was something on my list to do anyway.

There's a lot of support out there for postgrads, academics, researchers generally in using social media, but I don't think there's as much for undergraduates. It's an area we're looking to expand at my own institution, and as well as face-to-face workshops I really wanted something that worked as an interactive learning object online, probably made using Articulate / Storyline. Imagine how pleased I was, therefore, when Michelle told me the other collaborators would be Manchester, including Jade Kelsall, who is absolutely brilliant with Articulate! I'd worked with Jade before at Leeds; she provided all the technical expertise to create the Digitisation Toolkit (using the Articulate), one of the parts of the LIFE-Share project I actually enjoyed. Also on the team were Carla Harwood at Leeds, and Sam Aston at Manchester.

So we got together, brainstormed on lots of massive pieces of paper, photographed the paper with our ipads, emailed each other a lot, and came up with a resource which we think will be really useful. I feel quite bad because I was off on paternity leave for a month of this and it took me ages to get back up to speed, so I don't feel like I contributed enough compared to Jade and Michelle who worked tirelessly on this (sorry guys!) but I'm really pleased with the result. It's gone down very well on Twitter, and I was excited to see we've found our way onto a curriculum already:

 

 

How it works

Increasingly as I do more and more teaching, training, and planning, I'm aware that when introducing people to new tools (or trying to help people use existing tools better) you have to give them two different versions of the same core information. The first and obvious thing is how to use a tool - e.g. here's Twitter, here's how you create an account, here's some tips on using it. But this assumes some prior knowledge - what if you don't know why you'd need Twitter? So you also have to present the information in terms of tasks people want to achieve: "I want to boost my professional reputation" is one such task, and Twitter would be among the tools you might recommend to achieve this. The great thing about using Storyline is we can do exactly that - students can explore this resource by tool, or by task, or both.

We've also included case studies (some video, some not) and I'm indebted to my colleague in the Career's Service at York, Chris Millson, for providing a lot of really useful information about both tools and tasks and sourcing case studies...

The resource is, deliberately, very straightforward. We stripped out everything non-essential to give students easily digestible, bite-sized introductions to the various things they might want to use these tools for (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Slideshare, Google+, Academia.edu, blogs etc). It's also relatively informal without attempting to be in any way cool or streetwise. I've showed it to some of my students in info skills classes already and it's gone down very positively; I think even students who are very au fait with web 2.0 tools still appreciate some guidance on how to meld the social with the academic and the professional.

So, check out the Students Guide to Social Media, tell us what you think, and if you'd like to steal it, feel free.

 

 

A brief guide to the best sites for finding freely available images online

Reblogged from the Library Marketing Toolkit I'm currently running a 23 Things self-directed learning programme at my University. One of the Things we just covered is Creative Commons images, and the best places to find them. I have a whole bunch of useful sites I draw people's attentions to in the Presentations Skills course I run, so shared them all via the 23 Things blog - it got a lot of RTs when I tweeted about it, so as people found it so useful I thought I'd share it here. Finding good quality images is absolutely critical to pretty much all forms of marketing, after all!

Creative Commons Licences allow people to freely and legally re-use artistic works, as long as they credit the creator of those works. This can apply to any media but it's most often associated with pictures, and there are literally hundred of millions of images online of very high quality, which we can use in posters, brochures, presentations, websites, handbooks, blogposts - whatever we like, as long as we abide by the conditions of  the Creative Commons (CC) licence under which they're made available.
A CC image from Flickr, courtesy of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, no less!  Find it at http://www.flickr.com/photos/28634332@N05/7637356614 

 So where do you find these fantastic pictures?

  • Flickr Creative Commons (http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/) - Flickr is the big online picture sharing site, and it has the largest single supply of Creative Commons images (that I know of), tens of millions of them. It has plenty of non-licenced images to - which is to say, they're subject to normal copyright so we couldn't use them ourselves - but the link about takes you to CC part. 
  • Compfight (http://compfight.com/) - Compfight searches Flickr better than Flickr searches itself. It does all the different CC licences at once, which is useful, and somehow (I have no idea how) it seems to sort the wheat from the chaff and bring back the more useful pictures. When you run a search on Compfight, click Creative Commons from the menu down the left next to the results - from then on, every image you search for you can use.
  • Wikimedia Commons (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Images) has over 15 million CC images and, unlike pretty much all the other sources listed here, the images are categorised (by date, location, format, style etc) so you're not reliant on keyword searches to find what you need 
  • Iconfinder (http://www.iconfinder.com/) does what it sounds like it does - finds icons which are available for re-use. So not photographs like the other sites we're talking about, but small graphics and images which can be very useful in presentations. All the pictures in this University of York Library slide-deck are from Iconfinder, for example. 
  • Stock Xchange (http://www.sxc.hu/) is the equivalent of iStock Photo except the images are free to use with attribution. It is particularly useful for finding pictures on a plain white background, for use in PPTs. 
  • Morguefile (http://www.morguefile.com/) is similar to StockXchange, perhaps not as good (and not as comprehensive) - but the images are even licensed for commercial use, so you can use them to advertise things. 
  • Blue Mountains (http://flickrcc.bluemountains.net/flickrCC/) For the completists, a site called Blue Mountains does roughly what Compfight does. Try searching for a keyword but also putting BW in the search box (e.g. bw clocks) - it'll bring back very stylish black and white photos, often with a one-off splash of colour somewhere within them. 
  • TinEye MultiColor Search Lab (http://labs.tineye.com/multicolr) is my favourite image search engine (thank you to Katie Birkwood for pointing it out to me). You can't search by keyword - instead you search by colour, up to five colours in fact... How cool is that?  It means you can find fabulous CC images that exactly match your branding! Marketing win.