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Finding and Using Images: Finding Images

This guide is intended to help you search for images to use in your projects and research. It is not a comprehensive list of image resources but rather an introduction to the process of locating appropriate images.

Resources at SAIT

The Library has paid the licensing fees so students can use the images in the following databases.  Review the terms of use for each database for information about  an appropriate attribution statement.

The SAIT Archives also has over 3500 images that can be used by students for projects, so long as the image includes a citation for the Archives.  All copyright is held by SAIT, or by PAA with use agreements granted to the SAIT Community for educational use.  Search the SAIT Archives digital collection at

Search sites that Collect Images in Public Domain or Licenced for Reuse

Images posted openly on the web are still protected by copyright and are not automatically free to use. To find images, you should look for images labeled "public domain", or have open licences that allow them to be shared freely.

Public Domain means the image is not protected by any copyright law or other restriction and may be copied, shared, altered, and used by anyone.  The content is typically in the public domain because either the copyright expired or the content owner intentionally placed it in the public domain.

Open Licence means that the creator has assigned a licence other than copyright (most often Creative Commons) that grants you permission and states restrictions on what you can do with a work.

Sites with Free Photos (some with restrictions)

These sites offer free images with licenses for noncommercial, education use.  Check each site's license or rules page for their regulations.

You can also use facts, photographs, maps, and diagrams from Government of Canada (see restrictions) and Government of Alberta (see restrictions) sites as long as it is for non-commercial use.

Search Creative Commons-licensed Images

Search for Images licensed for re-use under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons is a open licensing system that allows content owners to clearly indicate how you can use their image.  Creative Commons licenses have attributes that state if an image can be used for noncommercial purposes, can be modified, and more.

Use to search multiple sites for images that can be shared and modified.

REMEMBER: Even if an image is licensed for reuse, you still need to cite your source!

Use Google Image Search

Google's Advanced Image Search has a "usage rights" box at the bottom that you can change to "Creative Commons licenses" to locate images licensed for reuse. You will still want to review the specific Creative Commons licence assigned as different rights will be available.


TIP: Remember that Fair Dealing still applies even if the website says "all rights reserved" or "copyright".

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