Best practices for image use

Select the best images

Images can tell a story and bring content to life.

See finding images007真人网址 for an annotated list of search tools.

If you're selecting images of people to include in your courses, be sure to represent diversity of gender, ethnicity, and culture. Free sources of diverse images include , , ,  (also see ), , and . The Gender Spectrum Collection's share ways to improve representation and avoid stereotypes.

Purdue's Online Writing Lab explains .

Recognize and comply with copyright

For maximum flexibility, look for images that are in the (not restricted by copyright). Wikipedia lists a number of . Check out , , and . The has released more than one million images into the public domain. You can freely use, copy, modify, and share public-domain images, even commercially. While attribution is not legally required, it's good practice.

007真人网址Images with a are another good option. The specific CC license explains what you're allowed to do with the image. At a minimum, you must credit the image's creator.  features more than 32 million CC-licensed and public-domain images. You can also use , , and to search for Creative Commons and public-domain images.

If you need to use a copyrighted image, track down the copyright owner and get permission. If you can't find contact information or licensing information for an image, avoid using it outside your course site. 

Use images in the classroom

007真人网址Be sure to by adding .

You may display copyrighted images in without permission from the copyright owner. For online instruction, following fair use guidelines007真人网址, you can display legally acquired copyrighted images without permission when only people in your course can see them (for example on your D2L Brightspace course site). This includes slide decks, assignments, and other content. Just make sure your content isn't open to the world in something like Slideshare or Google Drive.

Instructors, include a notice in your syllabus that "the images should not be downloaded, copied, retained, printed, shared, modified, or otherwise used beyond the permitted educational uses."

Cite images

It's best practice to credit your images (list the source). Students, ask your instructors if they have a preferred citation style.

007真人网址Attribution is required for all images with a Creative Commons license. When using Creative Commons images, use . Include:

  • Title – the name of the material (if available)
  • Author – the owner of the material (this could be a person's name, a company name, or a user name on a site such as Flickr)
  • Source – where the image can be found (usually a URL or hyperlink)
  • License – which Creative Commons license the image has (e.g., )

Here's an example of a complete citation for a Creative Commons image:
"" by is licensed under

007真人网址Open Washington provides a handy that makes it easy to generate citations.

Identify existing images


007真人网址 You can submit an image to TinEye to find out where it came from (and how it should be attributed), how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions.


Like TinEye, Google Images allows you to search by image. Select the camera icon in the search box and follow the directions. .


You can directly paste an online image URL or you can upload a picture.

Editing images

Adobe Photoshop and are installed on computers in the Main, Science-Engineering, and Fine Arts libraries.

007真人网址A number of free photo editing tools are available online, including:

  • (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

See tips on from Photo Review.

Get help

If you have any usage questions, get in touch with copyright librarian Ellen Dubinsky.

If you have trouble finding images, contact your librarian007真人网址 – we're happy to help.