Skip to Main Content

Creating Effective Presentations

Guide discussing tools and techniques for building effective presentations.

Building Your Presentation

Most materials online are protected by U.S. copyright law. Content creators hold the final say in what can and cannot be done with their work, and that can present a challenge when you're trying to add external content to your presentation. Something placed online is not necessarily free to use. 

This section of our tutorial addresses some of the resources you might encounter, and how you can use them appropriately.

Open Resources

Open Resources are materials that have been placed online with certain restrictions for users. Abiding by those restrictions means you can use the content for free. 

Read more about Open Resources.

Some examples:

Google Images

Use Google Images "Advanced Search" option to search for resources by usage rights. To do this:

1. Go to Google Images:


2. Look for the "Advanced Search" option in the Settings menu at the bottom right of the screen. The following image shows the location of this option:

Image of the Google Images search screen with the "settings" menu open listing Advanced Search as an option.


3. In the "Advanced search" area, locate the "Usage rights" dropdown menu and select the type of license assigned to a particular image. Fill in other blanks on the form as needed, and your search will return only materials associated with that license type.*

*Always read the fine print! Search limitations can save you a lot of time, but make sure the image is in the correct "category" before you use it. If it is misused, even on accident, you are still responsible.

Video Content

YouTube is the predominant streaming video platform on the web. The growth of the service has prompted the company to institute numerous copyright safe-checks, some of which make money for the original copyright owner if his/her work is used another way without permission.

If an item violates copyright, YouTube gives the copyright holder two options:

  1. The copyright owner can ask to have their content removed from the violating YouTube channel. YouTube can also suspend or completely remove the user's account for the violation if/when this occurs.
  2. The copyright owner can allow the content to stay on the violator's YouTube channel, but then the copyright owner claims all of the ad revenue collected when anyone watches the video.

Most larger entities select the second option and earn revenue from their content. This is especially true when the content has been adjusted in some way, such as a new video that uses copyright-protected music in the background. The owner of the music copyright can still claim a portion of the ad revenue, even though the video is original.

What does this mean for you when you're creating a presentation? It means that...

  • the content you're using, even if slightly questionable, may stay online because the original copyright owner has decided to make money off of the misuse
  • you don't have to seek permission for using the "share" features in YouTube to distribute the content to a wider audience as long as you're doing it for free. This includes the "share" link or use of embedded code if that setting is turned on for the specific YouTube channel.

If you're creating a presentation to then put on your own YouTube account, be aware that copyright violations can prompt the removal of your account and forever suspend your rights to use YouTube. 

If you're a student in a class working on a PowerPoint presentation that won't be shared beyond the learning environment, you will likely find success in using YouTube content without the fear of it disappearing when it's time to give your presentation.

Using Library Materials

Library resources can be tricky to use for presentations outside of the classroom environment due to licensing restrictions. We recommend that you review our policies for acceptable use before embedding images or video found through the library in any presentation.

In presentations where embedding might not be the best option, you can use persistent links to most resources including images and digital videos. As long as you have an Internet connection, a click on the link in your presentation will allow you to display the image in a separate window on your screen during your presentation. Our persistent link guide can walk you through how to locate persistent links in a variety of our resources.​

View our list of library databases containing images, videos, and music.