flickrCC is da boss!

For more than a year I have turned repeatedly to flickr’s creative commons search to locate images for presentations and projects. It never has failed to provide a large number of choices of powerful images to use.

The problem is the search tools on flickr are one of their less elegant designed interfaces. You first have to browser/pick via a type of license, and then search. It’s hardly efficient. For a long while, I used FlickrLilli, which provided a single search interface with some buttons/menus to narrow to the appropriate CC license types. But ohhhhhh, that Lilli just got slower and slower to load/respond. Darn popularity!

Well, here is a new kid that offers even more! flickrCC

This is from the “about” portion..

OK, so I should put more time into documentation, right?

I wrote flickrCC so I could easily find photos on flickr that were released under the creative commons license. Stuff that I could use for my experiments with the GIMP or include in my blog.

The panel on the left displays the first 36 matching photos. Click on any of these thumbnails to get a slightly larger image and the attribution details displayed in the right hand section. Right click the image and ‘save image as’ if you want to use this size, or click on the link in the attribution text to go to flickr and chose a different sized image. Don’t forget to include the attribution text in any work you produce using the picture.

To use the web app. just enter a word (or words) into the textbox. Click on ‘find’ and you’ll get all photos with a CC license that match *all* the search word(s) in the picture’s title, tags or description (sorted in order of ‘interestingness’, the photo voted most interesting first). The CC licences for a default search are: “Attribution License”, “Attribution-NoDerivs License”, “Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License”, “Attribution-NonCommercial License”, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License” and “Attribution-ShareAlike License”

If you want to edit a photo, you’ll need to restrict the search to just those licenses that allow derivatives. Checking the ‘for editing’ box ensures that just those photos licensed: “Attribution License”, “Attribution-NonCommercial License”, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License” and “Attribution-ShareAlike License” are returned

So let’s walk through it… Let’s say for example, I was going to bring more diversity to this weblog, I might so a search for images like…


Hey, that is really cute! Not bad for a feline. So flickrcc is a great way to just find images appropriate to your license needs, and it returns them in order of “interestingness” usually meaning better pictures first. You can tell this interface is done by someone who built it for their own use, and it makes sense, as this is the approach that takes about 5 clicks to get to in flickr.


But wait, there is more. Click the “edit this image” link, and you get thrown into a web image editor that allows you to crop, add text, put a solid color frame, draw lines, and what I think is a huge bonus– it adds the Creative Commons attribution to the image (see a larger screenshot of the entire web form). Woah, Neo!

So without launching PhotoShop or other software, I can quickly generate:


This is just insanely great.

A linktribution to Stephen Downes

If this kind of stuff has value, please support me by tossing a one time PayPal kibble or monthly on Patreon
Become a patron at Patreon!
Profile Picture for CogDog The Blog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so)


  1. ok, the ‘edit image’ thing is fun, but for sheer searchability of creative commons flickr images I still think Flickr Storm (http://www.zoo-m.com/flickr-storm/, which I believe you originally turned me on to) is the bomb. I love its feature to save images to a tray and then download them all, makes for a great tool to first search and then gather images for presentations.

  2. D’Arcy- I KNOW! I need to figure out why SpamKarma 2 spanks te most proflic commenter on CDB. I WILL FIND OUT (maybe)

    Scott- Doh! I forgot all about flickr Storm, thanks. I thought flickrCC is a great tool however, for teachers or students to quickly make web images, all in a browser interface

  3. One downfall of both is that they don’t seem to offer control over sorting. Looks like they show by Interestingness, rather than Date. Sometimes, you just want to find a current image of [insert tag here]

    and now, a captcha… ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. actually, they both seem to do rather noisy searches, searching the full text for a photo’s metadata (tags, title, description, notes, etc…) I’d like a nice interface to just search for a given tag, sorted by either date or interestingness. In a kick-ass UI. Come on, Flickr… Use some of that 57 bajillion Yahoo!Bucks! to build a more robust UI…

  5. And, FlickrStorm’s pure AJAX implementation means you can’t bookmark searches, or build bookmark utilities for quick searches (like my flickr search bookmark, where I just have to type “flickr calgary” and it fills it in as though I’d gone to Flickr and searched for “Calgary” automatically. Can’t do that in a pure AJAX interface. Bad FlickrStorm ๐Ÿ™‚

    FlickrCC uses URL parameters, so bookmarking and bookmark shortcut utilities are possible. And its basic editing (crop/add text/resize) utilities are kind of handy. But I think I’d rather just pull the image into Photoshop or Keynote and do it there… FlickrCC also has a weird quirk where starting a new search while on on, say, page 2 of another search, returns page 2 of the new search results. Then you get to click “previous” to get back to the first page. Odd…

  6. Good ponts Dr. Norman. You pushed them more than me.

    Sounds like you need to build your own ๐Ÿ˜‰

    But there is what might work for us well versus what we might recommend to flickr newbies.

  7. Beth- how is that so? The original is licensed By Attribution and Non-Commercial — there is no Share Alike component.

    Or are you saying in terms of “For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work.” I need to do more than have my own CC badge on my footer?

    Not being a picky field, just trying to reach understanding.

  8. Hello there. Thanks for the Flickrlilli name-check. I became aware of the slowness of the site, and did a couple of things to fix it: 1) moved hosting; 2) rewrote the interface so it was less intensive on the server back-end. (As an aside, I don’t think popularity was ever the problem: more the hosting.) It’s now up and running well in its new incarnation. I also added some usability enhancements. And by the way, it will sort by interestingness or date, search whole text or just tags, and filter the licences by what they allow. I also added RSS feeds capability, which I’m finding really useful. While I host my own version, if you wanted your own copy, I would be happy to send you the source code (Ruby on Rails). Cheers.

  9. But I have to concede that the online editing in FlickrCC is probably something I won’t ever add, as I don’t need it. But the bonus with Flickrlilli is you could take my source code and hack that in to your heart’s content… Sorry, I’m spamming you now, technically, aren’t I?

  10. Hey Elliot,

    thanks for finding and commenting on my post, and no, if someone who has created such a fantastic free resource, sends my 3 comments, it is not even close to spam (likely in the same time spam of your comments are 50 nefarious ones trapped in my blog’s ant-spam defense network).

    I always thought flickrllilli does/did what it does very well- help me find CC licensed images quickly. I used it exclusively for my one image searching work for at least a year, and ran a few workshops where we had people use it. I had noticed a few months ago that it was a lot slower, so am eager to see how the new hosting does.

    I still kept the bookmark ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And I don’t really see a need for adding image editing; I edit them myself in PhotoShop. It was just an interesting feature of interest to people who do not have access or skills in image editing.

    Keep up the great work!

Comments are closed.