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Contains links to a wide range of digitized materials held in European libraries and museums-- some of which are in the public domain. Be sure to check the rights information on the files you view or use.
This link will take you to the digitized collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BnF). Be sure to verify that the materials you wish to use were published before 1923.
Not all material listed here is in the public domain, but you can search for books and magazines published prior to 1923 by using the Google Books Advanced Search.
Government Publication Office (GPO)
Find works created by United States Federal Government agencies.
HathiTrust Digital Library
Find works of all different formats by using the advanced search feature. You can read public domain works on Hathi Trust's web site, but since The University of Montana is not a member, it's not possible to download entire public domain works at this time.
Internet Archive: Text Archive
Some of the texts on this site also contain Creative Commons licensed works. Contains an immense number of titles. New materials are added on a frequent basis.
Library of Congress Digital Collections
The Library of Congress provides access to public domain materials on a variety of topics. Please be sure to verify that the materials are actually in the public domain.
Be sure to have a look at Project Gutenberg's license page, which explicitly makes a distinction between using the raw public domain content in its e-books and Project Gutenberg's trademarked and licensed content. You can read this information-- in layman's terms-- under the heading "Public Domain Books."
Wikipedia's Public Domain Resources article
This site consists of a list of links to other Internet sites which provide access to public domain works. The article itself is organized by topic and is very interesting to explore for further materials. As always, please be sure to verify the source's copyright status.
This tutorial on using public domain materials, Creative Commons
licensed materials, and copyright law is provided for informational
purposes only! I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal advice.
None of what you read in this tutorial should be construed as legal
advice. Should you require legal advice, please contact an attorney.
Music (Sheet Music, Scores, and More)
Choral Public Domain Library
This site provides access to public domain choral sheet music as well as some contemporary works where the composer wished to share scores for download. Please be sure to verify the copyright status of works you wish to use.
Harvard College Library's Online Resources for Music Scholars
This site provides a list of links to institutions who digitize sheet music for the open web. Some of the materials that they list may be subscription-only for the Harvard community. Please verify that the material is actually in the public domain.
Historic American Sheet Music (Duke University)
Most of the materials here are in the public domain, but please check the dates or other features to be certain.
IMSLP (Petrucci Music Library)
Locate public domain and Creative Commons-licensed scores here. There are also a fair number of recordings available on this site as well.
Contains some score collections. Locate these materials using a keyword search. As always, please be sure to verify the public domain or Creative Commons status of the work.
Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music
Contains popular American sheet music from 1780 through 1980. Just from looking at the range of dates, not everything is in the public domain; be sure to check dates and other features.
Contains public domain scores, and CC-Licensed sound recordings. You need to create an account in order to download any of the recordings. You can download up to 5 recordings per day for free.
Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music
Sheet music collection dating from 1870-1885. Most of the content should be in the public domain, but you need to verify it.
Public Domain Information Project
This site does not provide immediate access to public domain scores; however it provides a very helpful list of music titles that are in the public domain.
Visual Arts and Images
Locating Art reproductions, photographs, other images in the Public Domain:
This selective list of links will help lead you to public domain art reproductions, photos, and other images. Again, it's important to remember that even though an art object might be in the public domain, its reproduction may not be. Here are a couple of resources to consult which further explain this potential problem area when using reproductions of public domain visual works.
"Finding Images" Art LibGuide (Mansfield Library)
I put together this guide initially to help users locate a variety of images. Some of these links may take you to public domain image reproductions.
"Finding and Using Public Domain Photographs" Public Domain Sherpa
This page is from an informative public domain site written by an independent entrepreneur/attorney. Author provides a lengthy list of sites that provide access to public domain photos because the original work's copyright duration expired or the original work was created by a U.S. Government agency.
U.S. Government's Official Web Search (for images)
Use these sites to help you search for images created by the U.S. Government.
Flickr: Public Domain
This is a newer group pool for Flickr where contributors are dedicating their images to the public domain. There are also other groups in Flickr that do similar things about a more specific topic. If you have images that you'd like to dedicate to the public domain, you can also join the group. As always, be sure to verify the copyright status before using any of these images.
This site not only provides access to Creative Commons-licensed images, but also to reproductions of public domain images. Recently they've been teaming up with the National Archives to provide access to thousands of photos.
New York Public Library Public Domain Collections
Have a look at the New York Public Library's digital materials that are in the public domain. This collection includes photos, lithographs, illuminated manuscripts, and more!