Community Development

A subject guide to support research in the field of Community Development.

Library Research Guide

Searching Online for CC Licensed Images

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables sharing and use of creative content through legal tolls including licenses. Their licenses help copyright holders to share their work broadly, and specify how others may sue their work. The CC Search option is one portal that you can use to discover and search image and media sites that offer works licensed with Creative Commons.  

flickr is a photo-sharing website where registered users can upload photos and anyone can browse photos. flickr gives users control over what is public, what is private, and how their photos can and cannot be used (i.e. copyright). To view only those images that are licensed by Creative Commons, use the Advanced Search.

Google Images offers a comprehensive search of images on the web including multiple options to filter results. There are two ways to utilize Google Image's search features to limit your search to images licensed with Creative Commons.

Pixabay is a website of free images, where all content has been released under Creative Commons CC0. See the Pixabay FAQ page for additional information on permitted uses. Pixabay also hosts a blog with useful information on such topics as public domain images

Wikimedia Commons is a database of freely-usable media files. The Wikimedia Commons database itself and the texts in it are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License. More information on re-use can be found at Commons:Reusing content outside Wikimedia and Commons:First steps/Reuse.

Fair Use

As explained on the Fair Use website created by the K-State Libraries' Center for the Advancement of Digital Scholarship, "Fair Use is an exemption to copyright law that allows the use of copyrighted works without permission or payment of fees in order to encourage teaching, learning and scholarship. However, a fair use determination must be made for each intended use, and the answer may still be vague or murky." This quotation was taken from the following link: 

Using Images


  • As with text-based information, always cite images that you use.
  • You must cite images even if an image comes from the public domain, is licensed by Creative Commons, or if you have determined that it is a fair use. If you did not make the image, you must cite it and properly credit the image creator.
  • It is also important to cite images you make to rule out questions of their origin (to give yourself credit, in anticipation of the question, "Is this your work?").
  • When considering whether or not you should use an image in your project, completing the Fair Use Checklist can help you assess whether your intended use could be considered a fair use.
  • Look for a copyright notice (even for government resources), and for phrases such as: 
    • "Copyright"
    • "License restrictions"
    • "More details"
    • "Permitted use"
    • "Some rights reserved"

Requesting Permissions

For Photographs That You Take

  • Taking a photo of a place?  
    • Ask permission before you photograph on private property such as a place of business or within a campus building.
  • Taking a photo of a person/people? -- If you intend to utilize images in your work, consider securing their permission (in writing), even for friends. You might also:
    • Consider posing for your own photos (as an individual or group)
    • Consider asking friends or classmates to assist in staging photos
    • For people who are recognizable in the photos you take, letting them know: 
      • that they are being photographed, 
      • why they're being photographed,
      • and for what purpose(s),
      • and how their image will be used
  • Create citations for images you make citing yourself as the artist/creator

Requesting Permission from Others

When making a request it is important to include:

  • What you are requesting to use (be specific; include URLs when relevant),
  • How you propose to use it,
  • For what audience (include the course name, instructor name and basic assignment parameters),
  • An indication of time (i.e., will it be used only for this one assignment, for this one semester, or for multiple assignments?)
  • Be as specific as possible in your request and document both the request you send and any reply you receive

See also K-State's advice for Using Copyrighted Works. This pages includes information on public domain, fair use, requesting permissions, and Creative Commons licenses.

Image Citation: Captions & Figures

document position of figure caption and matching entry in reference sectionThe examples presented on each tab of the box below are presented in pairs because a proper image citation has two parts.

The first part, the "Fig.", is the sample image caption. Captions are brief and provide enough information that the reader would easily be able to match the caption to the full citation.  

  • Two caption samples are provided for each because you might wish to make some captions longer and more descriptive.  
    • You also have the option to keep them very brief and only acknowledge the name of the photographer and date.  
    • What you do depends on what best suits your purposes.  
  • The captions are integrated into the design of the brochure and each caption should be placed near the image that it references.  
  • The caption is also an opportunity to explain something about a photograph that is not captured by the citation information (see the "Fig. 5." and "Figure 5." examples on the Wikimedia tab).  
  • If the date of image creation is not provided, you can use "n.d." in place of a date (meaning "no date"). 

The second part, the "Figure", is the sample citation that would appear in a list of references or in a bibliography.  

  • The citations fully describe the image and provide all of the detail necessary for the reader to find exactly where you found the image.  
  • For all of the following examples, you can follow the link provided to see the original image and how the details provided on each website came together to create the caption and citation.

Sample Image Captions & Figure Citations

Image from flickr

Fig. 1. Indigo Bunting photo by Dawn Scranton (2012).
Fig. 1. Photo by Scranton (2012).

Figure 1. Scranton, Dawn. (2012, April 4). Indigo Bunting [digital photograph]. Personal collection, made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license. Retrieved September 30, 2015 from flickr:

Fig. 2. Photo of Bill Snyder Family Stadium by Wesley Fryer (2008).
Fig. 2. Photo by Fryer (2008).

Figure 2. Fryer, Wesley. (2008, September  28). DSC01442 [digital photograph].  Personal collection, made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Creative Commons License.  Retrieved September 30, 2015 from flickr:

Fig. 3. "Jolly Hallowe'en" from the NYPL Mid-Manhattan Library. Picture collection.
Fig. 3. "Jolly Hallowe'en" from the NYPL.

Figure 3.  Unknown artist. (n.d.) Jolly Hallowe'en [postcard]. The New York Public Library, Mid-Manhattan Library, Picture Collection. Retrieved September 30, 2015 from Flickr Commons:

Image from flickr with alteration or modification

Fig. 4. Indigo Bunting photo by Dawn Scranton (2012).
Fig. 4. Photo by Scranton (2012).

Figure 4. Scranton, Dawn. (2012, April 4). Indigo Bunting [digital photograph]. Personal collection, made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license. Retrieved September 30, 2015 from flickr: Edited by Urton, E. 2016.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Fig. 5. Konza Prairie Preserve by Edwin Olson (2005).
Fig. 5. Photo by Olson (2005).

Figure 5. Olson, Edwin.  (2005).  Konza Prairie Preserve [digital photograph]. Personal collection, made available in the public domain. Retrieved September 30, 2015 from Wikimedia Commons: File:Konza2.jpg.

Fig. 6. Skywalk in Wichita, KS by Eric Whittman (2006).
Fig. 6. Photo by Whittman (2006).

Figure 6. Wittman, Eric. (2006, September 29). skywalk [digital photograph]. Personal collection, made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Retrieved September 30, 2015 from Wikimedia Commons: and_parking_garage.jpg.

Image from a Website

Fig. 7. The track to Bluegrass near North Stainmore, Cumbria, Great Britain (by Karl and Ali, 2010).
Fig. 7. Photo by Karl and Ali (2010).

Figure 7. Karl and Ali. (2010). NY8314: The track to Bluegrass near to North Stainmore, Cumbria, Great Britain [digital photograph]. Personal collection, made available under an Attribution-ShareAlice 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license.  Retrieved September  30, 2015 from geograph: photo/1780362. 

Original Work

This example applies to photographs, drawings, collages, and other original creations that you made yourself.

Fig. 8. Sunset view from Hale Library by Ellen Urton (2015).  
Fig. 8. Photo by Urton (2015).

Figure 8. Urton, Ellen. (2015, September 28). Sunset view from Hale Library, Manhattan, KS [digital photograph]. Personal collection.