Images are powerful. They can pep up a presentation, enhance a website or blog post, and make a newsletter or brochure more interesting. With careful attention to copyright and licensing issues you can find many free images from sources on the Web. We recommend that you start with our Art & Images page which offers several excellent image databases and sites with stock photographs.
Google and Flickr both offer an image search interface that allows you to filter each search. The example below from the Google Image Advanced Search shows how you can select an option that is labeled for reuse. Many images have a Creative Commons License. There are several types. The most unrestricted is the Attribution. This allows you to reuse an image as long as you give the creator full credit.
Some images may not have a license but will have copyright information. Finding an image that you can download does not give you the right to use it. The U.S. copyright laws are complex and fair-use can be tricky. It is easier to find an image that has an attribution license.
Once you find an image, consider the file size that you will need. Many sites will offer more than one. Determine whether you need a small file (thumbnail size for a web page) or a large file (suited to the requirements for printing). If you are working with a printer they will recommend project specifications for images you will use.
This picture of a Holy Week tradition comes from a database "designed for scholars, students, pastors, and religious educators, all of the images may be used for educational and/or religious non-profit purposes."
Citation: Christ Washing Peter's Feet, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=42446 [retrieved April 1, 2010].
Explore how you can enhance your work with images and don't forget to consider your purpose, consider the source, and include a citation.
—J. Bartholomew, e-services librarian