Sep 23, 2012

Inside Search: Legal Use of Google Images

It is easy to search Google Images and simply copy and paste an image result onto to report, presentation, or some other type of reuse. Even in academic settings, this practice could be a violation of copyright or fair use. While I don't think the police will be knocking on your classroom door anytime soon, this situation does provide an opportunity to teach media literacy and promote appropriate use at all age levels.

Google makes this process simple for all user by taking advantage of the Advance Image Search feature in Google Images. There are several helpful search features available here including filtering results by color, size, and aspect ratio (square, wide, panoramic, etc.). Any of these tools would be valuable alone but when you combine this tool set with the Usage Rights section at the bottom you begin to hone your search skills. There are five setting here ranging from not filtered to completely free to use, share or modify - even commercially. Each of the five categories is explained in detail by Google on the Usage Rights page. Encouraging this practice in the classroom will promote a higher level of digital citizenship and keep students in compliance with acceptable use policies.

Even more, the Advanced Image Search page allows Googlers to change the SafeSearch settings. SafeSearch can be adjusted to the strict filtering setting making the image results much more likely to be educationally appropriate. See a brief tutorial on Advanced Image Search below.

More on Digital and Media Literacy

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