I need to find a public domain image of _______. How do I do that?

commemorative cricket plate

Reference question of the day was about finding public domain images. Everyone’s got their go-tos. If I am looking for illustrations or old photos specifically I’ll often use other people’s searches on top of the Internet Archive’s content. Here’s a little how to.

1. Check the Internet Archive Book Images feed on Flickr. What I often do is search (which finds the words that surround the images) and then click straight through to the book (which is always linked in the metadata) and then fish around. For example…

10 thoughts on “I need to find a public domain image of _______. How do I do that?

  1. Nice post! But why 1927? Do you mean 1922, perhaps? Works published in 1923 or later can be subject to copyright in the US (though many are not, having either been published without notice or expired). Unpublished works are a moving target, with the term being based on the date of death of the photographer.

  2. Try using this new resource: illustrationarchive.cardiff.ac.uk. There are around a million images, which are all out of copyright. It is much easier to search and find your way around than The Internet Archive because it is devoted specifically to illustrations. Users can also view the book in which the illustration appears.

  3. … or you could try paying a few $€¥ to the poor bastards who are trying to make a living out of creating useful images.
    Try looking on e.g. Picfair

Comments are closed.