Creative Commons’ search engine, now out of beta, indexes over 300 million public domain images

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Last month, Creative Commons announced that its official search engine, CC Search is now out of its beta phase. The search engine offers over 300 million images indexed from multiple collections, better design, and more relevant search results.

Announcing the launch, Jane Park, the Director of Product and Research, wrote, “Aesthetically, you’ll see some key changes — a cleaner home page, better navigation and filters, design alignment with creativecommons.org, streamlined attribution options, and clear channels for providing feedback on both the overall function of the site and on specific image reuses.

Creative Commons has been a major provider of openly licensed and public domain images on the web and also the maker of CC licenses. Back in 2017, it launched the beta version of CC Search making it much easier to find images and attributing them to the copyright holder.

After being in the beta testing phase for over two years, this overhauled CC Search is capable of searching images across 19 collections from open APIs and the Common Crawl dataset, an open repository of web crawl data that can be accessed by anyone. It provides improved search loading times and search phrase relevance. It also facilitates reusing images through features like machine-generated tags and one-click attribution.

The search engine is open source with all the source code available on GitHub (CC Search, CC Catalog API, CC Catalog). If you are interested in contributing to the project, you can send your pull requests and proposals on GitHub.

Future plans for CC Search

Sharing the future plans for CC Search, Jane Park further wrote, “We will continue to grow the number of images in our catalog, prioritizing key image collections such as Europeana and Wikimedia Commons.

For the future, the CC Search team plans to expand the focus of the search engine from just images to other content types as well. Later this year, the team aims to index additional types of CC-licensed works, such as open textbooks and audio.

CC Search’s 2019 Roadmap specifies all the features to come in the search engine this year quarter wise. The features include advanced filters on the home page, the ability to browse collections without entering search terms, and improved accessibility and UX on mobile.

The CC Search team is also presenting the State of CC Search at the CC Global Summit next month in Lisbon, Portugal. They will be discussing with a global community about the desired features and collections for CC Search.

Check out the official announcement by Creative Commons for more details.

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