Public domain resources

Public domain resources are hard to find and use in Biology because once we cover the basics, we move on to current research- most of which is copyrighted or shared under Creative Commons. Nevertheless, I managed to find some resources that I could use in my classroom.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library
This e-library contains over 50,000 natural history works (such as Charles Darwin’s famous “On the origin of species by means of natural selection”) both in the public domain and under CC.

Smithsonian Institution’s Flickr
The Smithsonian provides images both in the public domain and under CC. Many of these would be an excellent addition to any science lecture- for example, images from the Portraits of Scientists and Inventors.

US Food and Drug Administration
Since it is published by the government, text and graphics in this website are public domain. This is a great place to find booklets that can aid instruction of introductory and advanced Microbiology, such as the Bad Bug Book.

US Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library
A government-published collection of wildlife materials. The videos and documents are a source of information on various animals, diseases connected to them, and their interaction with the changing environments. There are several excellent resources that link this education to real world use.

National Center for Biotechnology Information – Bookshelf
Provides access to Biology and Health Care books; much of the content is authored and published by the the US government, and occassional copyrighted material is especially marked. Great resource for students of Medicine or General Biology.

Medline Plus – A service of the US National Library of Medicine
A good source of medical pictures, diagrams, videos and descriptions. The topics range from general anatomy to various diseases.

The CDC Image Gallery
A very wide range of images and articles mostly centered around health, but going in depth about the particular maladies and risks. The health risks can also be sorted by age and lifestyle to narrow down a topic. These can be linked to assist in class presentations.

U.S. Geological Survey
A mostly public domain site with excellent Biology and Microbiology photos, as well as teaching resources (videos, lectures) for different student groups.

National Cancer Institute
A good collection of various anatomy and cellular pictures. There are also some nice stock photos covering general science and technology.

Public Domain Images
A collection of public domain photos of very high quality. The Biology and Medical Science photos can be of use in lectures and digital presentations.

About Lily F.M.

Graduate student trying to learn as much as I can!

One response to “Public domain resources

  1. Lily, I’m teaching history so I have a much easier time finding sources that I can use in my classroom that are in the public domain. However, I’ve been told that I should use public domain resources that aren’t just primary sources. I wondered for a long time how I would do that, but I got some good ideas from your sources. I kept thinking about sources that I would definitely like to use, rather than ones that could possibly be used by someone else. I keep taking assignments really personally. Anyway, I was wondering what relevance you would assign to some of these sources.

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