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Finding an unrestricted image to use is simpler with new Creative Commons search

creative commons new advanced search 21958495  holding laptop mouse
Karuna EM / 123RF
Searching for images with a creative commons license may soon be a much simpler task. On Tuesday, the non-profit Creative Commons launched a new beta version of an advanced image search platform.

Nearly 600,000 people use the organization’s current tool every month, but the system lacked an advanced search option to filter those results. Now, the beta version of the search upgrade allows users to narrow their searches by the type of institution releasing the images, as well as image titles, creators, and tags. The new options mean users can choose to search only museum archives instead of Creative Commons licenses from platforms like Flickr and 500px or to search for an image by a particular photographer.

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“There is no ‘front door’ to the commons, and the tools people need to curate, share, and remix works aren’t yet available,” CEO Ryan Merkley wrote. “We want to make the commons more usable, and this is our next step in that direction.”

Along with the search filters, the new platform adds a social element — users can create lists and share them on social media. Users can also tag and mark images as favorites, as well as saving searches to return to later.

Giving credit to those image’s creators also gets a bit simpler with the upgrade — the new search offers a one-click option that formats the details to copy and paste the credits.

The beta launch includes a small portion of the organization’s directory with images from Flickr, 500px, the Rijksmuseum, the New York Public Library, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That “small portion,” however, already includes about 10 million works.

The search upgrade is currently only in beta — the organization is asking for feedback on the new features to continue to hone the system before an official launch. As the system is refined, the organization says they expect to add more media sources to the search, as well as types of media beyond photographs, such as music, and additional features.

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