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Are you even aware of what’s available on the Web?

The good new and bad news of the Web: There is so much innovation, so many resources, such a wealth of content and now millions of participants to connect with and pay attention to, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the fact that the global database is being added to every moment of every day and ironically making it tougher to find stuff.

Besides some of the obvious-to-my-tech readers directories like Go2Web20, a listing of Web 2.0 hosted applications (2,294 listings as of Thursday, April 17, 2008), the Open Directory project, Sourceforge listing of more than 174,000 open source packages or even such more narrowly focused sites like one for content management systems (OpenSourceCMS), it’s the acceleration of content repositories that stun me and yet finding them is more challenging than ever.

At issue is the amount of energy investment required to seek and find what you need. Here’s one example: I have a friend in need of access to huge numbers of photos for his K-12 education initiative. Of course, these need to be unrestricted-license images so kids and teachers can use them with abandon. Besides some of the obvious education offerings from key providers, I’ve placed 19 links to sites I hadn’t heard of before (click on ‘Continue reading…’ below) but finding them took me nearly two hours of trolling to discover and this list is FAR from comprehensive.

This illustrates my point: Without considerable time invested coupled with some searching competence, it’s tough to find all of the great stuff that already exists on the Web and is being added to daily.

This is one reason that I’m cautiously optimistic about the semantic Web summed up thusly: “Humans are capable of using the Web to carry out tasks such as finding the Finnish word for “cat”, reserving a library book, and searching for a low price on a DVD. However, a computer cannot accomplish the same tasks without human direction because web pages are designed to be read by people, not machines. The semantic web is a vision of information that is understandable by computers, so that they can perform more of the tedious work involved in finding, sharing and combining information on the web.

My hope is that one day, any of us will be able to perform one search, computers will take on more of the tedious task of determining what’s relevant, and every single reference to “free education photo” offerings that meet my criteria will appear in a way that a human-directed listing now can.

Public Domain Pictures, Free Photos, Royalty Free Stock Images
Easy Stock Photos – Royalty Free Stock Photos, Pictures, Images, Information, Public Domain
PDClipart.org – Public Domain Clip Art
Uncle Sam’s Photos – Stock Photo Collections
everystockphoto – searching free photos
PicFindr: Free stock photo and image search
SPFFY.COM (BETA) – Searching one billion stock photos, footage and video for licensing
Pics4Learning and Tech4Learning
American Memory from the Library of Congress – Home Page
KidsClick!: Image Search Tools
Template—Teachers @ Work – Mark Teadwell
Multimedia Resources for Educators and Students – Utah Education Network
PD Photo – Free Photos And Pictures (public domain, stock pictures, wallpaper, royalty free, clip art, etc)
stock.xchng – the leading free stock photography site
BUBL LINK: Internet resources by type
Images of the world
FreeStockPhotos.com
Internet Classroom Assistant – Internet Resources
Copyright Free Sites

About Steve Borsch

I'm CEO of Marketing Directions, Inc., a trend forecasting, consulting and publishing firm in Minnesota. Prior to that I was Vice President, Strategic Alliances at Lawson Software in St. Paul where I was responsible for all partnerships at this major vendor of enterprise resource planning software products and services. Read more about me here unless you're already weary of me telling you how incredible and awesome I am.

Comments

  1. I have a new site with thousands of cost free photos,illustrations,art,backgrounds,graphics,logos etc etc

    Try it you won’t be disappointed http://www.freegraphicscentre.com

  2. Dont forget my blog…
    Free Photography Stuff Blog
    http://freephotostuff.blogspot.com/

  3. I offer Free Post Cards for school age children(k-12). They have to request which Post Cards and quanity. I will send the with in 48 hours after the request any where in the world. I would like to see our youth write and exchange Post cards.
    I specialize in Hand Tinting Black and White Photos the “Classic way”. I use my own 2 Zone Technique to create my Photo Art.Never computer aided in any way.
    I can produce works of Art from any old and forgotten Black and White or Color negative. I have over 50,000 Color Negatives
    with Color Photos that I am currently converting into Black and White Photo Art. My Photo Art is original and signed. I have been in the field over 26 years.

  4. The shot of the Eye is a Work of Art. I would like to know if it is free to use on my web site. Stunning composition and balance. Great capture.
    Artfully Yours, PJP

  5. Steve Borsch says:

    The eye photo came from one of the links on the list, Stock Xchange (www.sxc.hu) as did the globe in it that I composited into the final photo…adding the drop shadow for depth.

    You can download them there and just follow the licensing restrictions.

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