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This search is intended to find high quality images which (as far as possible) are public domain, i.e. without copyright restrictions. A number of galleries are indexed.

INSTRUCTIONS: Search, then click the Image tab on the results page. Then click a filter to narrow down your search (Smithsonian, Technology, Health, Nature or Agriculture).

WARNING: Please check for copyright notices before using as public domain. The default view contains non-PD images, especially from the Smithsonian. The "Smithsonian" tab shows just images from that site which are tagged as public domain (but we haven't managed to do that for the main view).

Other options[edit | edit source]

You can also search images on the Public Domain Search (via the Image tab). Both are useful, but give different results.

How the search is built[edit | edit source]

Suitable image have been added manually - a very different approach to the Public Domain Search which searches all of .gov (and some other sites) but excludes unsuitable subdomains of .gov.

The site is managed by Chriswaterguy - help is welcome.

Image sources[edit | edit source]

Most public domain images are likely to be from US Federal Government sources - especially for modern images.

Resources to be checked and added:

Challenges - problematic galleries that have been added:

  • BurningWell.org - not well indexed by Google (e.g. search for solar - many more turn up by using ), and it's almost a certainty that some users will have uploaded copyright images, in spite of the intention of the site.

Challenges - galleries which have not been added:

"@ENERGY Hi - the images at www.doedigitalarchive.doe.gov are the work of US Federal employees, I presume? I.e. #PublicDomain under US law?"

Note the explanations of public domain on the Public Domain Search. Not all images on .gov sites are public domain, for example:

  • Anything on state, territory or local government sites.
  • Any work done under contract may be under copyright. For example, Los Alamos National Lab's [Photo Galleries] - note that the Copyright, Legal notice claims copyright, which may be justified as the Lab's work is performed under contract rather than as direct employment by the federal government.)

Indexes of US Federal Government galleries. Some will be suitable:

Included sites[edit | edit source]

Current sites searched by the PDIS are:

    • .burningwell.org/*
  • apps1.eere.energy.gov/news/photographs.cfm* Technology
  • www.nrel.gov/data/pix/*
  • patapsco.nist.gov/imagegallery/*
  • gallery.usgs.gov/*
  • digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/landingpage/collection/natdiglib/*
  • photogallery.nrcs.usda.gov/res/sites/photogallery/*
  • www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/*
    • .si.edu/imageDetail.cfm*
  • marinelife.noaa.gov/media_lib/*
  • www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/*
  • images.fws.gov/*
  • www.nih.gov/about/nihphotos.htm/*
  • www.nibib.nih.gov/publicPage.cfm?pageID=2814/*
  • phil.cdc.gov/*

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

Page data
Aliases PDIS
Authors Chris Watkins
Published 2012
License CC-BY-SA-4.0
Impact Number of views to this page. Updated once a month. Views by admins and bots are not counted. Multiple views during the same session are counted as one. 297
Issues Automatically detected page issues. Click on them to find out more. They may take some minutes to disappear after you fix them. No main image