Documentation:Open Case Studies/ResearchResources
Public Domain and Creative Commons Resources
The following resources offer collections of images that fall into one of the following copyright categories:
- Public Domain (PD): works for which copyright has expired, or been waived by the copyright holder.
- Creative Commons (CC): works that have been permissively licensed and made available for reuse. These items are still under copyright and reuse may have certain conditions. For instance, you must always provide attribution when reusing a CC-licensed image; for more information on attributing images, see our guide on how to cite images.
Images in either of these categories may, in many cases, be used on public UBC websites with minimal copyright concerns. To be safe, remember to always double-check the licensing conditions of individual items. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
General (All subjects)
|Source||LMS?||Public site?||What is it?||Special Considerations|
|Creative Commons Search||Yes||Yes, with citation||- A meta-search tool. Can be used to find CC-licensed images on Google Images, Fotopedia, Europeana, etc.||- Remember to verify that works are CC-licensed by following the links to resources that appear in your results.|
|Flickr Creative Commons Search||Yes||Yes, with citation||- Use the "Any License" drop down menu to search for CC-licensed images.||
|The Flickr Commons||Yes||Yes, with citation||- Public domain photography collections supplied by libraries and museums from around the world.
- Some samples: Vancouver Public Library, the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
|-Images are all in the public domain, and have no known copyright restrictions.|
|Foodie's Feed||Yes||Yes||- Free food photography.||Photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used for commercial purposes.|
|Gratisography||Yes||Yes||- Free high resolution images with no copyright restrictions.||Photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used for commercial purposes.|
|IM Free||Yes||Yes, with citation||- Curated collection of free images, available for commercial use.||Most images licensed under CC License 2.0, but check before you use them.|
|ISO Republic||Yes||Yes||-Free high-quality, copyright-free photos.||Can be used for personal and commercial projects. See terms here.|
|The Noun Project||Yes||Yes, with citation||- An extensive collection of Creative Commons-licensed icons and symbols.||- Icons may be licensed under different CC licenses, so check each license for terms of reuse. A citation will be provided for you when you download an image.|
|Open Street Map||Yes, with citation||Yes, with citation||- User-generated maps and data from around the world, free to use under an open license.||See the Copyright and License page for information on how you can use these images and data.|
|Picography||Yes||Yes||- Free, hi-resolution photos. Subscribe to get new photos delivered to your inbox each month.||No restrictions on use.|
|Pixabay||Yes||Yes||- Photos and clipart published under CC-Public Domain license (free of copyright restrictions).||- Note that sponsored Shutterstock images are also shown during searches but are not free of copyright restrictions. Those images are marked with a gray background and display the Shutterstock logo.
|Startup Stock Photos||Yes||Yes, with citation||- Free photos of start-up culture, people working, office spaces, etc.||Photos published under CC License 4.0. Can be used for commercial use.|
|Stokpic||Yes||Yes||-Free stock photos that deal with a variety of subjects. New photos added every two weeks.||No copyright restrictions; public domain.|
|Superfamous||Yes||Yes, with citation||-Mostly geological, biological, nature, and aerial photos.||- Photos licensed under CC License 3.0.|
|Travel Coffee Book||Yes||Yes||- Free travel photos from around the world. 10 new photos every 10 days. You can download all released photos at once.||- All photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used for commercial purposes.|
|Unsplash||Yes||Yes||- Free high-resolution stock photos depicting a wide variety of subjects. 10 new photos are released every 10 days.||- All photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used for commercial purposes.|
|Wikimedia Commons||Yes||Yes||- 20 million freely usable image, sound, and video files.
- All files are Public Domain or CC-licensed.
|- Check the “Licensing” section for an image to find any terms and conditions for reuse / instructions on attribution.|
Art and History
|Source||LMS?||Public site?||What is it?||Special Considerations|
|Flickr Commons||Yes||Yes||- Public domain photography collections supplied by many libraries, galleries, and museums from around the world.||- Images are all in the public domain, and have no known copyright restrictions.|
|French Revolution Digital Archive||Yes||Varies||-The Images of the French Revolution resource is composed of about 14000 images of items such as prints, illustrations, medals, coins, and other objects.||- Free of charge for non-commercial use, please contact email@example.com for commercial uses.|
|Getty Open Content Program||Yes||No||- The Getty has made 4,600 high-resolution images of their museum collection free to use, modify, and publish for any purpose. Includes paintings, manuscripts, photographs, sculpture, etc.||- From the Search Gateway, select the link for “Open Content Images”, which allows for images available for reuse. Images should be attributed with the statement “Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program”.|
|Images Canada||Yes||No||- A centralized database of digitized historical images from cultural institutions across Canada.||- Citation must be formatted as follows: Copyright symbol, ©, Name of partner institution ("Source" on image page), Image ID number, and the statement: "Reproduced with permission from the [partner's name] website (partner's website address)”.|
|Internet Archive Book Images||Yes||Yes||- Millions of historical images from books scanned by the Internet Archive are available and searchable via tags on Flickr. The pictures date from 1500 to 1922 and include historical photos and drawings.||- Images are all in the public domain, and have no known copyright restrictions.|
|Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection Online||Yes||Yes||- As part of its Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) initiative, the Met now provides access to 400,000 high-resolution digital images of public domain works in its collection. Works covered by the policy are identified on the Museum’s website with the acronym OASC and can be used freely and without permission for non-commercial use, including scholarly/educational uses in any media. Includes iconic paintings, photographs, etchings, sculpture, etc.||Image citations must include the creator and source and the URL "www.metmuseum.org." The website's terms and conditions stipulate that images should not be modified and cannot be used for commercial purposes.|
|Museum of New Zealand Collections Online||Yes||Yes||- The museum, also called Te Papa Tongarewa, has made 30,000 high-resolution images from their collection available for download and reuse under a CC BY-NC-ND licence.||- At the Search Gateway, select the button for “with downloadable images”, which allows for images available for reuse. Select the image, then select the “download” button beneath the image. The attribution statement will be provided on the download page.|
|New Old Stock||Yes||Yes||Cole Townsend curates this collection of vintage photos from public archives. The images are free of known copyright restrictions.||Clicking on the link under each image will take you to its original post on Flickr, where you can get more information about the image. See Flickr's statement about public photo archives in the Flickr Commons, which have indicated "no known copyright restrictions."|
|Open Glam Open Collections||Yes||Varies||- OpenGLAM (Open Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) curates an extensive list of Open Collections from several cultural institutions.||- See licensing information from individual institutions for applicable terms of reuse.|
|the Smithsonian Institute||Yes||Yes||- More than 40,000 works being made available for high-resolution download—expanding regularly with new acquisitions||Images can be used for all non-commercial purposes.|
|Trove--National Library of Australia||Varies||Varies||Close to 400,000,000 digital resources including many images, primarily from Australia. Also includes books, maps, music, historic newspapers.||- Limit your search to "freely available" content using the advanced search. See each resource for specific licensing information.|
|Source||LMS?||Public site?||What is it?||Special Considerations|
|Encyclopedia of Life||Varies||Varies||- A collaborative online encyclopaedia with entries on all kinds of biological entities on Earth||- In most cases, content is made available under a Creative Commons license. Check the license for any applicable terms of reuse.|
|Earth Science World Image Bank||Yes||No||- Maintained by the American Geological Institute (AGI), and provides over 6,000 quality geoscience images.||- Images are copyrighted, but contributing photographers to allow their images to be used for non-commercial purposes. For full terms, see their Image Use page.|
|NASA Images||Yes||Yes||- NASA Images provides public access to NASA's image, video, and audio collections in a single online resource. (See also: NASA on Flickr Commons).||- NASA imagery is generally not protected by copyright, so you are free to use it for educational or informational purposes. |
- Note: this permission does not extend to any use of the NASA logo.
|BioMed Central||Yes||Yes, with citation||- Not an image database. An online publisher of open access biology and medical journals which are Creative-Commons licensed. Figures and graphs in articles are also CC-licensed and available for reuse.||- Tables and figures published in articles on BioMed Central are available for use under the same CC-BY 2.0 or (starting Feb. 3, 2014) CC-BY 4.0 license as the journal articles. Advance permission is not required, but be sure to include a full citation.|
|PLOS One||Yes||Yes, with citation||- Not an image database. An online publisher of open access biology and medical journals which are Creative-Commons licensed. Figures and graphs in articles are also CC-licensed and available for reuse.||- Tables and figures published in articles on PLOS One are available for use under the same CC-BY 3.0 license as the journal articles. Advance permission is not required, but be sure to include a full citation.|
|Morphbank :: Biological Imaging||Yes, with citation||Yes, with citation||- An open web repository of images for use in international collaboration, research, and education in the biological community. Images not password-protected are CC-licensed||- Images are available under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license, or under a less restrictive license. Password-protected images may not be used without written authorization from copyright holder.|
|Science Image||Yes, with citation||Yes, with citation||- More than 4,000 free science and nature images and videos curated by CSIRO, Australia's major science research organization. Search by keyword or filter by categories including animals, insects, soil science, fire, water, and more.||- Images are available under CC BY 3.0 license.|
Open Education Repositories
Please check the licenses of any OER materials before using — every effort has been made to identify repositories that prioritize open and reusable content, but licenses may vary.
MIT Open Courseware
MIT's Open Courseware contains classroom materials from 2150 courses at MIT, including video/audio lectures, lecture notes, online textbooks, and interactive simulations.
OER Commons aggregates Open Education Resources (OER) from a large number of partnership organizations and institutions. Resources are available in every subject area and a large variety of formats (including lecture notes, lesson plans, case studies, full courses, textbooks, and more).
Jorum is a Jisc-funded repository of OER from educational institutions in the UK. All subject areas are included. The majority of resources are "narrative text", but others, such as textbooks, exercises, and computer tutorials are included as well.
Academic Earth aggregates free online courses from a number of prominent academic institutions. All subject areas are included. Most resources are video lectures/tutorials or links to open courseware (OCW) courses.
Open Education Consortium
The Open Education Consortium is a worldwide consortium of higher education institutions and other organizations. Their OER database contains links mostly to OCW courses and open textbooks.
Yale Open Courses is Yale's OCW with full courses from a variety of subject areas (mostly liberal arts). Each course includes a full set of class lectures (downloadable, with audio-only versions available, and searchable transcripts included), as well as supplementary course materials such as syllabi, supplementary readings, and problem sets.
Khan Academy offers instructional videos and practice exercises in all subject areas, with a heavy emphasis on math skills. Other subjects include science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. (Note: Personal non-commercial use only; Khan Academy does not allow derivatives or adaptations and retains all copyright licensing.)
Saylor Academy contains 300+ self-paced, free courses that are built by professors and industry professionals, some of which are peer reviewed by Saylor Faculty. All courses contain learning outcomes, course information, and use a variety of learning objects, articles, and open textbooks that are freely available online. All subject areas are represented.
The Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) is a repository of over 40,000 learning materials, including websites, open textbooks, online courses, tutorials, and interactive resources. All materials are reviewed for relevance and all subject areas are represented. By creating a free account, users can also create Bookmark Collections and Course ePortfolios.
PRIMO (Peer-reviewed Instructional Materials Database)
The PRIMO repository contains peer-reviewed teaching materials created by librarians. It contains materials such as lesson plans, online tutorials, interactive resources, and instructional videos related to information literacy and the research process.
The Howard Hughs Medical Institute (HHMI) Biointerative site contains OER related to science topics, including medicine, anatomy, chemistry, biology, Earth science, and paleontology. It contains worksheets, slides with embedded video, podcasts, images, video lectures, apps and interactive tutorials. (Note: Personal non-commercial use only; HHMI does not allow derivatives or adaptations and retains all copyright licensing.)
InTech is a repository of almost 2500 open access books in the fields of physical sciences, engineering, technology, life sciences, health sciences, social sciences and humanities. All books are licensed as CC-BY and many are authored by researchers from some of the top universities in the world.
National Centre for Case Study Teaching in Science
The National Centre for Case Study Teaching in Science is a repository of science case studies for use in classrooms. Include active learning classroom materials such as case studies, discussion questions, games, debates, problem based learning, and role playing activities. All materials are freely available to use, but access to teaching notes and answer keys require a small yearly subscription. (Note: National Centre for Case Study Teaching in Science retains all copyright licensing, and there are some restrictions on use).