Finding Photos for Your Blog on Flickr

Finding photos for your blogs posts can be a sticky topic. Some people seem to think anything you turn up on a Google image search is fair game, as if publishing anything to the web instantly makes it public domain. All our wonderful Vol State bloggers are of course better informed than that.

Flickr provides tools to help take the guess work out of fishing for images. The first is The Commons. This is a partnership Flickr has with organizations such as the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library to host a wealth of content for which no known copyright restrictions exist. This includes but is not limited to works in the public domain. The good news is any image you turn up while searching The Commons is fair game for anything you want to do. The bad news is the vast majority of the content is quite old. That can be great for a blog focused on history but not so great for a blog focused on educational technology.

The other method offers more variety in available photos, but also presents more restrictions. If you go into the advanced search you can specify to search only Creative Commons content.

Creative Commons Search option in Flickr advanced search options

Creative Commons licenses come in many different flavors. It’s possible to make sense of it at a glance using the icons that represent various levels of rights and restrictions, but to be sure look for the license info in the right hand column of the primary image view in Flickr. Click on the link in this section to be taken to a page explaining the exact provisions that govern a particular work.

Liscense area on Flickr

For a full break down of the various Creative Commons conditions, go to the source. As a publicly funded higher education institution who does not monetize the content on our WordPress server we should qualify for “non-commercial” use. Don’t assume that holds true for another other blogs you may contribute to. All the other aspects of the Creative Commons are fairly straightforward. If you have any questions by all means ask and I’ll do my best to answer them.