While in recent years world-class institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art have made an effort to make their public domain artworks more accessible, it’s not always easy to find free photos to use in creative projects. Non-profit Creative Commons is looking to change that with the introduction of their long-awaited search engine. CC Search scours the web for over 300 million images available under public domain or creative commons licenses.
The Met Museum, along with 18 other organizations like the Rijksmuseum, Flickr, Behance, and Deviant Art, have made their collections available to CC Search. Just type in a search term and the Creative Commons search engine will find imagery relevant to you. Eventually, Creative Commons is also hoping to roll out this technology to include open texts and audio, with an ultimate goal of providing access to all 1.4 billion CC licensed and public domain works on the web.
For now, CC Search is providing quality over quantity. In fact, Creative Commons wants to make its search engine a leading tool for creators. “CC will prioritize and build for users who seek to not only discover free resources in the commons, but who seek to reuse these resources with greater ease and confidence, and for whom in particular the rights status of these works may be important,” the non-profit writes.
The search engine features basic filters that allow you to sort results by usage, license, and provider. Once you’ve clicked into an image, there is an embed code for quick sharing and it’s easy to click back to the original source in order to verify that the license is correct. As the system matures, Creative Commons plans to expand its offerings. Possible additions include different portals for specialized users—like educators looking for textbooks—and CC Search integration with third-party sites and software.
Feedback is important in this phase and Creative Commons will be paying close attention to how users interact with the program, making tweaks to ensure that it meets the needs of creators. So go ahead and get searching the next time you’re looking for public domain or creative commons content.
CC Search makes finding free photos easier than ever, with over 300 million public domain and creative commons images available.