internet  resources
Image Resources on the Internet


Free Images Sites

Image Services   

Image Search Engines - Resources to Use with Caution


Free Images Sites

The following sites offer images that can be freely used on most Web sites and other publications. However, many of these images are not in the public domain and have some use restrictions. Be sure to check the use restrictions at each of these Web sites.  If you use any of these images, be sure to provide credit to the source, which usually should be noted underneath the image.


Image Collections

An unbelievable annotated list of image resource sites appropriate for education—132 different sites at last count. When using these images for purposes beyond your classroom, be sure to check each site’s use restrictions. Although many of these sites contain images that are in the public domain or are freely available for non-commercial use, some have restrictions on their use. Also see its subject index (not just for images):


Microsoft* ClipGallery Live

“Provided for the purpose of granting rights to licensed users of Microsoft Office… Examples of permissible use include, but are not limited to: newsletters, brochures, web sites, presentations, flyers, postcards, trade show materials, newspaper advertisements, product catalogs, and reports.”


The Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs Reading Room

The catalog includes about 250,000 records representing over five million items. About 90% of the records are accompanied by one or more digital images. Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law or restricted by terms of Library of Congress gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners.


Images of American Political History

A collection of over 500 public domain images of American Political History.



“ is one of the largest collections of free photographs for non-commercial use on the Internet. The site features 40 main sections with over 600 sub headings. The photographs are free to private non-commercial users and for sale to commercial users. contains over 12,000 images with new pictures being added every week.” Credit images used to the web site using its logo linked back to freefoto.

Download stock photographs absolutely free. Arranged in a variety of categories. Use in any website or publication you wish - personal or commercial, but must include the domain name: along with each picture used.


Zettweb Photo Site

More than 3000 jpg pictures arranged by subject.  Non-commercial use: web site, online, and multimedia designs; advertising and promotion campaigns; presentations and brochures; packaging for anything except software, books, CDs and cassettes, and videotapes.  For all uses of images at this site, provide a credit: "Image © 1999 ZettWeb. All rights reserved." to appear adjacent to the images or in a credits comment.



AICT is a royalty-free image exchange resource for the educational community. Arranged in the following categories: Ancient, Medieval Era, Renaissance & Baroque, and Non-Western.


Lantern Slides of Classical Antiquity

Bryn Mawr College grants the right to use these images for non-profit, non-commercial use in educational or academic settings to any scholar or student. The College does, however, retain the right to control use of these images in any printed product or for any commercial or fund-raising purpose.


The Society of Architectural Historians

Somewhat difficult to navigate, but has a huge amount of resources for photographs and drawings of historical buildings.  Most images can be used for non-profit educational use; republication must preserve the original credit for the source of the image. If any image is identified as “PR” (permission required), those images cannot be used without permission from the image provider.  For easier access, categories are listed below:

World Survey, Ancient through Medieval, plus early non-Europe:  

World Survey, Renaissance through Modern

American Survey

[1600-1779] [1780-1849] [1850-1899] [1900-1944] [1945-1976] [addendum of less consensual pedagogical favorites].

NIX (NASA Image eXchange)

“Photographs are not protected by copyright unless noted. If copyrighted, permission should be obtained from the copyright owner prior to use. If not copyrighted, photographs may be reproduced and distributed without further permission from NASA.”


ZooNet Image Archives

“All images available for download on ZooNet are for the enjoyment and enlightenment of the Internet community. Images containing an embedded copyright statement may not be altered so as to remove that copyright statement. They are for personal, non-commercial use only. Schools, Zoos, and Zoo Societies may use the images for educational use at no charge.”


Making of America

The Making of America collection is comprised of the digitized pages of books and journals. This system allows you to view scanned images of the actual pages of the 19th century texts. All materials selected in the MOA project are no longer covered by copyright.


Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The Thinker Imagebase is a fully keyword searchable database; it contains 75,000 images from the collections of the de Young Museum and the Legion of Honor.  “If you would like to use an image from the ImageBase, or would like to request a publishable quality copy of an image in the ImageBase (35mm slide, 4x5 transparency, 8x10 print) please send email to  Truly non-commercial uses are encouraged. We would, however, like to hear about them, mostly because we'd like to highlight your innovative educational uses of the collections. A non-commercial use is anything which does not include resale and is usually personal or educational in nature.”


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Photo Library

Well-organized site containing albums and catalogs of over 16,000 images. Great site covering 18 different subject categories. “Most NOAA photos and slides are in the public domain and CANNOT be copyrighted. Although at present, no fee is charged for using the photos credit MUST be given to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce unless otherwise instructed to give credit to the photographer or other source.”


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pictures/Images

“Most of the images on our Web pages are in the "public domain" (which means they have no copyright restrictions). If an image on our Web site is not restricted and does not say it is copyrighted, then you can assume it is in the public domain. You may download and use those copyright-free images in your print and electronic publications. There's no fee to pay (i.e., they're free), and no need to get permission from the Service for reusing them.”



“The Pics4Learning collection is intended to provide copyright friendly images for use by students and teachers in an education setting. The original photographers of each image retain the copyright to these images and have graciously allowed their use in this collection. Images in the Pics4Learning collection may be used by teachers and students in print, multimedia, and video productions. These could include, but are not limited to, school projects, contests, web pages, and fund raising activities for the express purpose of improving student educational opportunities.”


American Memory

“The nature of historical archival collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Whenever possible, the Library provides information about copyright owners and other restrictions in the catalog records, finding aids, special-program illustration captions, and other texts that accompany collections. The Library provides such information as a service to aid patrons in determining the appropriate use of an item, but that determination ultimately rests with the patron.”


American Memory: Selected Civil War Photographs

“There are no known restrictions on these photographs.”


American Memory: America from the Great Depression to WWII (1935-1945)

“Photographs in this collection were taken by photographers working for the U.S. Government. Generally speaking, works created by U.S. Government employees are not eligible for copyright protection in the United States. While the Library of Congress is unaware of any copyright in the FSA/OWI Black-and-White Photos, there is a narrow possibility that a very small number of items may have copyrights associated with them Suggested credit Line: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-USF35-1326]”


American Memory: Map Collections 1544-1999

“The maps in the Map Collections materials were either published prior to 1922, produced by the United States government, or both (see catalogue records that accompany each map for information regarding date of publication and source). The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes and is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection or any other restrictions in the Map Collection materials.”


FDR Library & Digital Archives

Copyright-free pictures of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, the depression and New Deal, and World War II.


U.S. Air Force Photos

“Information presented on Air Force Link is considered public information and may be distributed or copied. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credits is requested.”


U.S. Navy Online Library

“To the best of our knowledge, all Online Library pictures are in the public domain and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose without requesting permission.”


Discovery School’s Clip Art Gallery

Permission is granted to download no more than ten different clip art images for non-revenue-producing use on hard copy documents or on Web sites with the following restrictions: Any reproduction must be unaltered from its original downloaded form. This includes, but is not limited to, colorization, cropping, or editing. Any use of clip art images on Web sites must credit or include a link to the Web site.

Icon Bazaar
Lots of clip art and animations. “Limited permission is granted for institutional use of up to twenty (20) images in toto from these archives by WWW developers representing not-for-profit organizations, governmental organizations or educational institutions.   Copyright notification should be included wherever appropriate.” 

Graphics Libraries
Nice list of links to graphics libraries with extensive annotations of each.

Amazing Instant Online Animated 3D Text Maker
Creates a text banner with your own text, then you can save the image as you would any other online image (right-click...). Animations only work on Web pages and PowerPoint 2000 (and PowerPoint 97 if you have a special plug-in).



Image Services  

Sometimes it pays to pay for that perfect image…



Mira, which stands for Media Image Resource Alliance, is an online stock image service offered by Copyright Clearance Center, the largest licenser of reproduction rights for text in the world. MIRA provides image buyers with the opportunity to license high quality, rights-protected images for a wide variety of uses. Includes photos from the Washington Post and cartoons from the New Yorker.  Free image research is available from their archive experts.



The largest graphics resource on the web—at last count, 1.2 million images. 3-day free trial or $29.95/year for unlimited downloads.  Includes clip art, photos, fonts, WebArt, and sounds. Although ArtToday content can be used in commercial or noncommercial projects, see usage restrictions at: Note underneath the image used: © 2000-(current year)


Aurora Photos

Aurora Photos is a one-stop solution for researching, finding and buying images.


Corbis Images



The sections of Corbis that allows use of its images on the Web and other publications (for a fee).

See terms and conditions at, including the link to the BizPresenter License Agreement.



United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) currently contains over 10,000 digitalized images in its Photobank. This service has been developed to allow professionals and other users to obtain reproduction rights.  E-mail your selection of images and a description of the intended use to They will respond with further details.



Image Search Engines - Resources to Use with Caution

Images found through the resources listed below can usually be used in your classroom under the Fair Use provision, but not necessarily for wider publication (like posting on the Web), unless you receive permission to use them from the copyright holder.


Online Reference Resources
Image Finders and All Purpose Picture Files


Image Search by Proteus


Altavista Image Search
Click the radial button next to "images." Type in a key word to find photos, graphics, buttons and banners. Provides thumbnail pictures (small version that loads quickly) that you can click to go to the page with the original image. This image search engine is not filtered; students should not use it unsupervised. Image Search
Click the images radial button before clicking search to search only for image files. Provides thumbnail pictures.


Lycos Multimedia Search
Click the Pictures radial button. Provides thumbnail pictures.


Yahoo Image Surfer
Search engine, but also includes categories for images. Provides thumbnail pictures.

The fine art search engine. Search by artist name, artwork by title, or art museums by name or location. Or browse by movement, medium, subject, or nationality. Wow.  Images are not copyright-free. See each individual museum site for usage restrictions.


The Smithsonian Institution ("SI"), and its Office of Printing & Photographic Services ("OPPS") image files are made available for non-commercial, personal use. Copying or redistribution in any manner for personal or corporate gain is not permitted. Images may be put on a file server in one’s school, company, museum, etc. only if there's no charge for the user. All the accompanying text information, caption, etc. must be included, and must be presented completely and unchanged.  Images cannot be placed on a CD-ROM, public domain or otherwise. See additional usage rules at:


*Other names and brands are the property of their respective owners.