Finding free and legal images to accompany your web content has never been difficult, thanks to Creative Commons. The nonprofit organization offers copyright licenses that creators can use to share their work more broadly, while putting them in control of where and how their work can be used, how it should be attributed and more. Now the organization is making it easier to access this content with a new search engine, CC Search, launched into beta this morning.
Larger image search engines, like those from Google and Flickr, have for years offered tools to filter for CC-licensed images, but Creative Commons’ own search tool continues to have a sizable audience of its own. The organization says that nearly 60,000 users search its site every month. But it believed it needed to do better, in terms of making the commons more accessible.“
There is no ‘front door’ to the commons, and the tools people need to curate, share, and remix works aren’t yet available,” writes Ryan Merkley, Creative Commons CEO on the organization’s blog. “We want to make the commons more usable, and this is our next step in that direction.”
While Creative Commons licenses can be used across a variety of media, including video, audio, music and much more, the search engine for now only focuses on images given that they comprise half of the total commons.
The engine pulls in photos from Flickr, 500px, Rijksmuseum, the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art as its initial sources. The latter was added to just today, to coincide with the launch, and brings 200,000 more images to the service.
In total, there are roughly 9,477,000 images available at the time of launch, though the exact figures will vary at times.
In addition to having a more modern look-and-feel, the new CC Search lets you narrow searches by license type, title, creator, tags, collection and type of institution. It also includes social features, letting you make and share lists of favorite images, as well as add tags and favorites to individual items. Plus, you can save your searches for quick access in the future….