Search Engine for Creative Commons and Public Domain Images

After watching major search engines develop way to search for Creative Commons images, it’s no surprise to discover that there’s a search engine dedicated exclusively to Creative Commons and public domain images. It’s called Sprixi and it’s available at What it finds is rather limited (at the moment it finds only items from Flickr and OpenClipArt as well as any images that are uploaded to Sprixi) its presentation is excellent.

The site has a basic keyword search; just enter a couple of words that describe what you’re looking for. I did a search for snow. Sprixi divides its search results into two panels: the first has thumbnails of the results and the second has a larger version of a chosen image, with even more data if you hold your mouse over the image.

Along with viewing the image, you have the option of specifying whether you think the option is a good result for your keyword search, which will help Sprixi give better results over time. If you click on the larger image in the right panel, you won’t get anything. But if you look at the bottom of the second panel, you’ll see there are direct links both to the image and to the Flickr user who uploaded the image. Beneath that you’ll see a notice of public domain or the picture’s Creative Commons license, as well as the original dimensions of the image.

If you like what you see here and find a picture you want to use, the next step is to click on the image, then click on the green “Use” link at the far right of the search results. You’ll see a screen that looks like this:

As you can see you’ll get a link to the image, an option to download the image (and when you download the image, credit/attribution information will be added to it) and details about the use license in plain English. (“you must give credit to the author / commercial use allowed …”)A “more options” link lets you download the image without the credits/attribution text, as well as get image HTML and credit text.

I really like the presentation of this search engine. The two panel results make it easy to browse results as well as provide feedback on the relevance of the images to the keywords. And the “Use” link makes it easy to get the images and the attribution and use information you need. Nicely done.

I have three concerns, however. The first is the name — I thought initially “Sprixi” might be hard to remember. But I never misspelled it once in this writeup, so maybe it’s all right. Next, the direct links to Flickr image pages do not open in a new browser window. This means a lot of flipping back and forth unless you can remember to consistently open interesting Flickr pages in a new window. And finally, Sprixi might get run over by the large general search engines offering much bigger pools of CC and public domain images. Hopefully the site will expand what’s available via this great search and presentation.

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