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smithsonian : Are We There Yet?

Smithsonian Images Database

March 3, 2008 · Posted in graphics, Teaching 2.0, Tools · 1 Comment 

Finding images for use in school settings is always an interesting exercise. Aside from the very obvious question of appropriateness of the image, there are questions of copyright, image resolution, and image authenticity. Google image searches and Flickr are wonderful tools, but there can be a significant amount of sifting through extraneous material to find just what you want, and the question of whether or not it’s legal to use that image can hinder the progress of a project.

barite crystalThat’s why resources such as Smithsonian Images are so useful for educators. Images are of very high quality, can be easily verified as authentic, and include a copyright license that allows for fair use for personal, school, or non-commercial use as long as proper credit is given when images are used. (Speaking of which, the image at left is a barite specimen photographed by Laurie Minor-Penland in 1995.)

As you might expect from the Smithsonian Institution, images are tracked by categories that are very useful to educators. The default categories are:

– Air and Space
– American History
– Animals
– Fireworks
– Gems and Minerals
– History of Technology
– Marine Life
– Military History
– Nature
– The Presidency
– Transportation
– Washington, DC

Other categories are available, and there is an excellent search engine on the site.


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