Apr 27 2012
WEBQUEST: Sourcing High Quality Images from ARKive
Happy Friday, Folks!
In the process of creating an online version of FW315, Ichthyology, my biggest initial frustration lay in finding high quality images that met the demands of copyright clearance (e.g., public domain, personally produced, or from sites that don’t demand exorbitant reuse fees). In my particular case, I need images of fishes. Lots and lots of fishes. There are over 30,000 species of fishes in the world, and I probably talk about 150 of them in FW315 at one point or another in my lectures.
There’s no shortage of gorgeous fish photographs on the web, but a lot of the best ones are from professional underwater photographers. Royalty charges for individual professional photos can add up very quickly when one is looking at using dozens or hundreds of images. On the other hand, many photos in the public domain are pretty lackluster. For example, searches from government archives associated with NOAA and US Fish and Wildlife, returned most fuzzy shots of dead or dying animals on the decks of trawlers. It annoyed me to think that I might have to use suboptimal images that didn’t show the anatomical features or simple beauty of the organisms that I was trying to illustrate.
Then I found the ARKive.
ARKive is a repository of professional images of organisms (not just fishes) that aims to solve exactly this problem. They state that they aim to gather “together the very best films and photographs of the world’s species into one centralised digital library, to create a unique audio-visual record of life on Earth, prioritising those species at most risk of extinction. Preserved and maintained for future generations, ARKive is making this key resource accessible to all, from scientists and conservationists to the general public and school children, via its award-winning website”
This is a goldmine of really high quality images on an astonishing diversity of animals, and nicely helps to balance my desire to use the best photos available with the need to not spend a fortune in royalties to do so. All of the photographers involved have agreed to make everything on the site free to use for educational purposes.
Here are a few images that I’ve used so far in the course.