Finding images without breaking copyright

For me, one of the best benefits of the Internet over the last few years has been the abundance and quailty of images out there, and how easy it is to use them educationally.

Most of these images can be found on image sharing sites such as Flickr, or Picasa and some of them are released under creative commons – which means the person uploading the images has given certain permissions for these to be used.

So a very useful skill for an educator to learn is the ability to search for images that are released under creative commons licence – and luckily for us various tools have appeared to help us.


The first place that I go to find images to use in my educational materials is Xpert – a recently developed tool from the very clever people at the University of Nottingham (of Xerte fame).

The beauty of Xpert is that it attaches the relevant reference information and licence to the image as part of the image. This is very clever – as it shows where the image has come from, that it doesn’t break copyright law, it shows learners how to reference an image (and sets a good example to them) and because all this information has become part of the image it cannot be accidentally be seperated from the image.


If I don’t find what I want then I go to Compfight – which searches Flickr and displays the results as a series of small images (thumbnails) if you click on an image it takes you to the relavent image page on Flickr. This doesn’t attach the reference to the image the way that Xpert does, but it searches in a different way so will find different images. I then need to reference the image seperately.

Creative Commons Search

And then the third place that I go if I haven’t found what I want is the creative-commons search tool which searches a variety of sources and returns images, videos and other forms of information from different sites.

All of these sites are very good, a lot will come down to personal preference as to which to use, but the main thing is that we can hopefully start to see the back of  low quality, low resolution images that have been taken illegally from the Web, and replace these with high quality, striking, stimulating images correctly referenced to show the learners the importance of referencing sources of information.

5 Responses

  1. […] most recent post covers Compfight and Creative Commons Search once more, but also the recently-developed Xpert tool […]

  2. That Xpert tool is really good – like it a lot. Have linked to thsi in my own blog at

    many thanks


  3. […] to use graphics more than words – so I would point them to image searching techniques such as Xpert, and Compfight which I have blogged about before. Show them how to do screen capturing, and then cropping images, […]

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