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New Creative Commons image search in beta

I am a little late to the table in discovering Creative Commons’ new search tool.  But if you are late like me, you’ll want to update your links to include this important resource.

Creative Commons, of course, offers alternate copyright licenses that allow creators to decide how and if they want their work to be attributed, used and remixed. Creative Commons has long offered a search page that gathered some of the major portals as well as a search box for the Firefox browser.

In his February 7 blog post post, Creative Commons CEO, Ryan Merkley explained the thought behind the new release:

Creative Commons’ goal is a vibrant, usable Commons powered by collaboration and gratitude. That work has taken us beyond the licenses to explore new tools for discovery, reuse and collaboration.

We’re releasing CC Search today and inviting users to try out the beta, including our list-making features, and simple, one-click attribution to make it easier to credit the source of any image you discover.

One of the primary ways that our users find Creative Commons content is through our search page, which provides references to various repositories. The current CC search tool is accessed by nearly 600,000 people every month — but we can do better. There is no “front door” to the commons, and the tools people need to curate, share, and remix works aren’t yet available. We want to make the commons more usable, and this is our next step in that direction.

The beta search is available at  While the goal of this front door project is to make the entire Commons available, this launch settled on a goal of 10 million works and features images only–likely what we search most anyway. It now gathers results from Flickr, 500px (a new discovery for me), Rijksmuseum, the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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The new CC Search offers filter for license type, title, creator, tags, collection and type of institution.

If you register for a CCID, social features allow you to make and share lists of favorites, add tags, and save your searches for later access in the future.

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This is what the documentation looks like pasted from html looks like:

Lennart Tange

is licensed under
CC BY 2.0

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Here’s a little video introduction I prepared for my students.

Merkley notes that this is a beta effort in active development, released as early as possible to elicit conversation around improvements.

Creative Commons welcomes feedback on the new search tool via form, or Twitter, FacebookSlack, or email.

Note: I’ve updated my Copyright-Friendly Toolkit to reflect this new resource.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


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