No More Bullet Points: Finding the “Right” Creative Commons Images for Presentations

When I give a presentation, my slides tend to be more visual, or even abstract. I ditched the death-by-bullet point long ago. No one wants to sit through that. Put a few important keywords on a slide, add the rest to your notes, and use a powerful image to convey the spirit of the information you are trying to relay.

Finding Images

For finding free Creative Commons-licensed images that I can re-use, I tend to stick with:

Wither the Subject Heading

Here’s the problem: on user-generated sites like Flickr, most people obviously are NOT librarians. They categorize and tag photos HORRIBLY. If I’m giving a presentation and am talking about “innovation” – I cannot do a search for that as a keyword and find many quality images. So, you have to think outside the box.

Some Quick and Dirty Keywords You Can Use

What follows are some tried-and-true search terms that I’ve used to find images covering popular topics/subtopics typical to presentations:

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 4.24.40 PM

Got a great search tip to share when it comes to using images? Leave a comment below!

18 thoughts on “No More Bullet Points: Finding the “Right” Creative Commons Images for Presentations

  1. This is great! I often struggle to think of concrete searches for images that can represent abstract concepts. Your list of suggestions is very helpful.

  2. One source of images I go to are museums that I know offer high-res images with public use permission: the Getty, the Walters Art Museum, etc. They have some really wonderful photographed objects and scanned books that make for good slide backgrounds (for example, we used scans of medieval Turkish maps for a presentation on curriculum mapping).

    Since my colleague and I both like to use abstract images, we’ve use a shared folder where we save promising images we find on flickr, Wikimedia Commons, etc (we save the image credit info in the file name). In that way we’ve built up our own little “digital library” of images we like to use and reuse in our various presentations. Sharing content with colleagues is a nice way to collaborate (and get ideas from each other).

  3. Thanks for the great ideas! There’s a great iOS app called Haiku Deck that allows you to search Creative Commons images and input them right into your presentation. It also has limited text slide capabilities which helps cut down on wall-of-text presentations. It’s also really easy to export your iPad-created presentation into a regular Power Point or Keynote presentation.

  4. This is great. I often have to find images for blog posts and have run across the same problem of stuff not being usefully labelled for searching. Think I might have to work out better keywords for the subjects I’m writing on. Did you have a particular way of coming up with your keywords, or did you just work them out from experience?

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  7. I’m imagining an concept/metaphor/image search tool. Stuck thinker pops in a concept and is offered relevant metaphors and associated imagery. There’d be use in the other direction too.

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