Image repositories for e-Learning

The following is an annotated list of online repositories containing images which can be used without cost or restriction for educational purposes. There are sometimes conditions on using images, which should be consulted prior to use - for example, attribution. Many of these repositories licence their contents under Creative Commons as Open Educational Resources (OER). The sole criterion in evaluating image sources below is: are the images cost-free, and usable without restriction, for educational purposes

NB: School colleagues should consult the extensive and official Copyright Guidelines on the School Intranet.

Quick start

If you're in a hurry, try one of the following starting points:




Burning Well

A small repository of good-quality, variable-resolution photos sorted by broad-brush categories. Searchable.


A large repository of high-quality photos of plants, animals, fossils, people, and landscapes. Thumbnail indices, medium-res images online, high-res images on request from author. Usage restrictions detailed in each record. Searchable and browsable.

Every stock photo

A meta-search engine for free stock photography, indexing sources such as stock.xchng and Flickr. Over 3 million images are indexed.


An enormous photo-sharing community, many of the images in which are licenced under Creative Commons - check image record for licencing info. To find CC images, use the Advanced Search and tick the Creative Commons box at the bottom of the form.


A large library of high-quality photos and textures, produced by multimedia designers. The concentration is on nature, objects, architecture, and vehicles - there are no people photos at all.

A unique feature is the abstract search, where you can look for a type of image (bright, soft, glossy, etc) rather than an image of something. You can also create your own downloadable clippings library (similar to sets in Flickr).


A bank of "free high resolution digital stock photography for either corporate or public use". Thumbnail and low-res views online, high-res images downloadable as .zip files.Sorted by broad-brush categories, browsable and searchable.


A growing library of high-quality stock photography, sorted by category, contributed under Creative Commons licences. A nice touch is that when you select a photo, thumbnails of similar photos are displayed.

A small public domain repository, browsable and searchable. Only a few top-level categories, and no "people" category.

Philip's House of Stock Photography

The author's personal repository of images taken by himself. Browsable only by CD number, but searchable. They mostly seem to be landscapes, places and animals.

Pixel Perfect Digital

Hiqh-quality stock photography and some 3-D drawings, categorised by topic with a search engine.


A very large repository of high-quality photography, categorised and searchable. Thumbnail views, photos available in medium- and high-res. Each image record lists the restrictions, if any, placed on usage by the contributor.

Mixed Images



Wikimedia Commons

"The Wikimedia Commons is a project that provides a central repository for free images, music, sound & video clips and, possibly, texts and spoken texts, used in pages of any Wikimedia project."

Vector graphics and drawings

If the term 'vector graphic' is new to you, see the Wikipedia article for an explanation. In summary, vector graphics are composed of drawing instructions, and can be resized to any scale without any image degradation.



A large, categorised archive of public domain vector images, including a good medical images section with a handful of high-quality anatomical diagrams.


A large, categorised archive of mostly CC-licenced vector images in Adobe Illustrator (AI) and Enhanced PostScript (EPS) formats.. No directly educational categories, but useful for standard clipart.

Searchable but uncategorised vector image archive.

Open Clip Art Library

A large and growing collection of high-quality vector clipart (SVG format) made available under the CC licence. Searchable and browseable. Tip: you can use the Open Source graphics application Inkscape to edit SVG images.

Clip Safari

ClipSafari is a repository for high quality clip art images. These vector graphics files are suitable for all contexts. Many of these graphic files were sourced from the Open Clipart Project. Open Clipart was an amazing resource and a community of artists. Since April 2019, however, the site has been regularly unavailable. So, Clip Safari haved ecided to step in.

Vector Portal

Large, searchable archive of stock vector imagery in a wide range of categories.

Health and Biological Sciences resource repositories



HEA Bioscience Image Bank

A medium-sized image repository, comprising mainly photos of plants, animals, bacteria and viruses, maintained by the HEA Subject Centre for Bioscience. Browsable and searchable. The terms & conditions of use explicitly allow image use in public materials, including websites and CAL, in non-profit educational contexts only.

Health Education Assets Library (HEAL)

A large resource collection aimed at those involved in health sciences, comprising images, presentations, websites, etc. Indexed, searchable, and browsable, by MeSH. Some resources are available under CC licences. Usage and rights details in resource records.

Minnesota Image Bank

A collection of high-quality medical illustrations used in the book "The Sourcebook of Medical Illustration", made available for public use by the University of Minnesota.


A library of images and presentation material illuminating the study of visual perception, sorted by topic, eg Anatomy & Physiology, Colour (including colour deficiency) , Development, etc. Searchable and browsable. Any educational use is permitted, including usage on public websites.

Wellcome Images A very large collection of high-quality biomedical images, made available under a Creative Commons licence, allowing for free unrestricted usage for non-commercial purposes.





A searchable collection of high-quality, copyright-cleared video and animation clips in a range of Life Science categories, including Biochemistry and Medicine. Rather than being downloadable, the clips are made available as streaming video for incorporation in websites, VLEs, presentations, and so on. You choose a video to use, and bandwidth required, then you receive a URL to link to. Browsable and searchable by category.

Other directories and advice sites