Jump to content

Wikipedia:Public domain resources

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There are many resources on the World Wide Web that are in the public domain (see Wikipedia:Public domain), and therefore are freely usable on Wikipedia and its sister projects without legal restrictions. Note, however, that wherever public domain resources are used on Wikipedia they should be properly attributed, just like any other source (see Wikipedia:Citing sources and Wikipedia:Plagiarism).

This page is intended as a helpful guide to public-domain resources.

Caveats and notes[edit]

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from The World Factbook. CIA.

See Wikipedia:Template messages/Sources of articles (note that this lists templates for both public domain and non-public domain sources) and attribution templates. Attribution templates are extremely helpful to other editors; it allows them to easily locate articles that use a particular public domain source, by using the "What links here" feature on the template page.




  • Physics for Free has two public domain physics books by former Yale professor Frank Firk: one about basic physics, one about groups and particles


Note: the images on bioguide may or may not be PD. Their copyright notice is at [1].


Ancient History

Language and linguistics[edit]

Political science[edit]


  • Classics in the History of Psychology is a collection of classic public domain works in psychology collected by Christopher D. Green: see here for a note about the copyright status of the individual documents in the collection


National Park Service Heritage Documentation Program {{PD-USGov-Interior-NPS}}

Library of Congress

Business and industry[edit]

  • (US Federal Govt.) US Energy Information Agency – statistics and info on energy industry (mostly US but some stuff for the world) – they appreciate but do not require acknowledgement (copyright info here)


  • (US Federal Govt.) Federal Standard 1037C, a telecommunications glossary, appears to be mostly in the public domain based on these principles, and is a source of a large number of bits of useful material. A few items are derived from copyrighted sources: where this is the case, there is an attribution to the source. Note: most non-trivial 1037C articles are now incorporated into Wikipedia – please also note that only those articles that have substantial content and are from 100% public domain sources are suitable for inclusion in the Wikipedia
  • (US Federal Govt.) DISA site about commercial telecommunications standards From the site: "This site is maintained by the Commercial Standards Division of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to provide information about the current status of commercial telecommunications standards."

Computer science[edit]


  • ERIC Digests This site has several thousand education articles. They were all produced by the US Government ERIC Clearinghouse system. All of them are also in the public domain and can be used freely for content at Wikipedia.

US federal government[edit]

Title 17 USC §105, Subject matter of copyright: United States Government works, provides that "Copyright protection is not available for any work of the United States Government," defined in Title 17 USC §101, as "a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person's official duties." Therefore, only those works solely authored by US Federal Government employees are not protected by copyright in the United States.

Works produced by contractors and grantees for the federal government are generally protected by copyright. In such cases, the Government is granted a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free license in the work to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies to the public, and perform publicly and display publicly, and to allow others to do so, for US Government purposes. The Government's license does not place these works in the public domain. Additionally, a copyrighted work for which the copyright has been transferred to the Government by assignment or bequest is not in the public domain.

Look for copyright and permissions notices on US Federal Government publications and websites. However be cautioned that government agencies often advise that in the absence of a copyright notice, users may assume their information is not copyrighted. This contradicts the copyright law as amended in 1989, when the United States joined the Berne Convention for the purpose of harmonizing domestic copyright law with international copyright standards. While use of a copyright notice and registration was once required as a condition of copyright protection in the United States, it is now optional, and a work is not necessarily in the public domain simply because it does not have a copyright notice.

For further discussion, see: Don't keep the public guessing: best practices in notice of copyright and term & conditions of use for government web site content (2004) by the CENDI Copyright & Intellectual Property Working Group.

Works of the United States federal government:

Non-US federal government[edit]

Solar energy[edit]

From the World-wide Information System for Renewable Energy (WIRE), which is a service provided by the International Solar Energy Society (ISES – http://www.ises.org/ ).


Science, medicine, and technology[edit]

General resources[edit]



Geology and Earth science[edit]


Biology and zoology[edit]


  • (Aveiro University) DiseaseCard.org"DiseaseCard is an information retrieval tool for accessing and integrating genetic and medical information for health applications."
  • (US Federal Govt.) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "In general all information presented in these pages and all items available for download are for public use. However, you may encounter some pages that require a login password and id. If this is the case you may assume that information presented and items available for download therein are for your authorized access only and not for redistribution by you unless you are otherwise informed."
  • (US Federal Govt.) MedlinePlus at the NIH copyright terms here indicating materials are in the public domain unless otherwise indicated
  • (US Federal Govt.) NIH public domain publications on urology
  • (US Federal Govt.) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) "The public may reproduce without permission information from the National Institute of Mental Health Web site, except for documents that state another copyright policy applies to them."
  • (US Federal Govt.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "Unless otherwise noted, the contents of the FDA Website (www.fda.gov)--both text and graphics—are not copyrighted. They are in the public domain and may be republished, reprinted and otherwise used freely by anyone without the need to obtain permission from FDA. Credit to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the source is appreciated but not required."
  • (US Federal Govt.) Glossary of HIV/AIDS-Related Terms 4th Edition: a Department of Health and Human Services project collaboratively sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • (US Federal Govt.) USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory Contains nutritional information on a large number of comestibles. From FAQ: "USDA food composition data is in the public domain and there is no copyright. We would appreciate it if you would list us as the source of the data and when possible we would like to see the product which uses the data or be notified of its use."
  • (US Federal Govt.) A large collection of public domain information sheets on various neurological disorders
  • Gray's Anatomy – 1918 edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body (with illustrations).
  • (US Federal Govt.) US National Toxicology Program: copyright notice here, typical US government terms
  • Asthma genetics – Public domain data
  • (US Federal Govt.) Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General (needs positive confirmation before use: some diagrams within the text say "used by permission", which implies that they are copyrighted – however, the rest appears to be written by US government employees)
  • (US Federal Govt.) The NCI thesaurus is a massive public domain repository of definitions of medical terms
  • (US Federal Govt.) The Genetics Home Reference http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/ghr/ is a wide resource on human genetics
  • (US Federal Govt.) The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms defines a large number of medical terms, mostly related to cancer.
  • (US Federal Govt.) The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences [2] is a federal medical school. Some material is available on its website, but much is not. Contacting the public affairs department could enable a significant amount of material to be made available to the public.







  • Internet Sacred Text Archive Online archive containing numerous etexts of books in the public domain (in the US) on religion, mythology, folklore and related topics. Copyright status of the source edition (copytext) of each work is analyzed and relevant bibliographic data, including images of title pages and versos, provided.
  • Biblioteca Elettronica Esoterica Esonet.org A comprehensive resource of free esoteric ebooks, articles, electronic papers about esoterism, religions, mythologies. The site is in Italian but are present ebooks also in Spanish, French, German, etc.







  • Greg Goebel's IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN: Science, technology, military history, introductions to classical and relativistic physics.
  • Infoanarchy: a weblog dedicated to copyright issues. All original material is in the public domain, although some redistributed articles may be under copyright.
  • "Ethical treatment for all youth" a website that documents therapy and detention of children and juveniles for consensual sexual activity. Author wrote to me in a personal email: "Certainly, I intend everything at my site to be in the public domain, to be used freely by anyone else. Of course, I would appreciate it if people who use it would link to my site, since I can use all the exposure I can get."
  • Freetems: Photos, music and other PD content, user-contributed and moderated or gathered from around the web.
  • Public domain vectors: Vector graphics in public domain.


  1. ^ "Philipine Government] (Republic of the Philippines)". www.gov.ph. Retrieved 5 July 2015.

See also[edit]