Meera Nair


Some interesting public domain and fair-to-use collections.

Multi-form content

Open Culture – “The best free cultural and educational media on the web.”  A well-stocked site; it includes textbooks, films, e and audio books, courseware … .

Library of Congress, Digital Collections – “Access to print, pictorial and audio-visual collections and other services.”

Library and Archives Canada – “Discover the collection, Canada’s continuing memory.” The site includes archival records, sound and audio-visual materials, images and electronic documents.

Wikimedia Commons – “A database of freely usable media files (images, sounds, video)  to which anyone can contribute.”

World Digital Library – “The World Digital Library (WDL) makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.  … These cultural treasures include, but are not limited to, manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings.”


Bartletby.Com – “The preeminent Internet publisher of literature, reference and verse providing students, researchers and the intellectually curious with unlimited access to books and information on the web, free of charge.”

Project Gutenberg – “The first and largest single collection of free electronic books, or eBooks. Michael Hart (1947-2011), founder of Project Gutenberg, invented eBooks in 1971 and continues to inspire the creation of eBooks and related technologies today.”

Project Gutenberg Canada – “The ebooks on this website are in the Canadian public domain, and are offered to you at no charge.”
[Canadians are fortunate to have maintained copyright term at only life plus fifty years.]


Earth Science World Image Bank – “[This] is a community service provided by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI). The Image Bank is designed to provide quality geoscience images to the public, educators, and the geoscience community.”

imaggeo – “Online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union.”

Flickr’s Creative Commons Collection – “Many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license, and you can browse or search through content under each type of license.”

Getty Open Content Program  – All images of public domain artwork are available; over time more material from the Getty Museum and Research institute will be added.  Note that Getty requests attribution as: “Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.” In the case of non-public domain imagery, Getty supports Fair Use.  James Cuno, writing for The Getty Iris, gives more information: “Open Content – An Idea Whose Time Has Come”.

Google Art Project – “The Art Project showcases incredible artwork from collections around the world, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, historic and religious artifacts, photographs and important manuscripts. Expertly-narrated videos, audio guides, viewing notes, detailed information, maps and more tell the stories surrounding works included in the Project.” Google’s Art Project is a subsidiary offering within the Google Cultural Institute.

Images Canada – “The gateway to images of Canadian events, people, places and things.”

openclipart – “A community and collection of vector clip art that is free content.”

Musical Scores

International Music Score Library Project – “The ultimate goal of the IMSLP is to gather all public doman music scores, in addition to the music scores of all contemporary composers (or their estates) who wish to release them to the public, free of charge.”

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