Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Biological Sciences (BIO): BIO Open Source Images

Introduction OER Images

OER -- Open Educational Resources are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes. Open resources can often be adapted, adjusted and modified to fit specific requirements and needs.OER resources are meant to be flexible and editable as long as you give credit to the original source and make the revised resource available under the same license as the original resource.

Main points about OER

  • Free and/or low cost
  • Able to retain, reuse, revise, remix and redistribute
  • Copyright free
  • Attribution or giving credit is mandatory
  • Widely available but locating the right resources for your needs may take some time and research
  • Librarians can help, contact your liaison if you have questions

Biology Image Sources

These links may provide OER or licensed images. Many resources are marked with a Creative Commons License that tells you exactly how you may use the image. Provide attribution for any sources used. Information on citing sources in APA/MLA can be found here.

Searching for OER Images

Google Image Search

You can use the Google Image Search option to locate open/free images on the Internet.

  1. Click on the link above and enter your search terms.
  2. Once you get your search results click on "Tools."
  3. Then click on "Usage rights" to limit by usage permissions.

Note: Once you find an image you want to use using the Google Image Search, visit the site to verify the Creative Commons License or user permissions.


Google Advanced Search Option

You may find it easier to search websites and domains using the Google Advance Search option. Rather than going to each individual site, try searching the various sites using Google. This may save you some time.


Using and Saving OER Images

General Steps for Saving OER Images

  1. Search for open images.
  2. Once you find an image you want to use click on the image.
  3. Visit the Website to verify that the user permissions, usually Creative Commons.
  4. Right click on the image to view and save it to your computer.

Some of the repositories have specific instructions for saving, downloading and importing content, make sure you check and follow those instructions if indicated.

For Example:

Link with Instructions for downloading images from Flickr.


Accessible Images

When using images to share content and  information, you should include short text descriptions for people who cannot see the images. You can do this by using the  “alternate text” or “alt text" option when uploading images in Blackboard and some other content management platforms.

Open Washington explains ways that you can make sure your images are more accessible.

Finding OER Images -- Suggested Workflow

Suggested Workflow

  1. Compiled a list of images you need.
    • Build your initial list from the images you currently use.
  2. Divide the list up between staff/volunteers.
  3. Search for open/free images for the items on the list.
  4. Download and/or link the images to a working folder or a save file.
    • Make sure you include location information for the images.
  5. Set a date for checking and approving images in working folder.
    • Have someone assigned to go in the working folder to verify if the images meet your needs.
  6. Process the images for use
    • Verify user permissions.
    • Revise, remix, and adapt content for your needs.
  7. Import images to publishing platform


Copyright and Attribution

Creative Commons Licenses

Best Practices for Attribution


 Open Attribution Builder

Try the attrition builder to help give proper attribution.