The CalPhotos website - which includes almost 50,000 images of algae, fungi, plants, animals, fossils, and landscapes - is part of the larger UC Berkeley Digital Library Project. Materials can be searched by photo type, name, location, collection, photographer, or any combintation thereof. All but the Corel stock photos are useable for nonprofit uses; links may be made to any photo. There is both a standard and a custom query search form that should allow the user to locate photos on any topic or organism contained within the collection. Once located, each photo is extensively annotated. There is also a mechanism in place to verify identification of organisms. Numerous organizations and volunteers support this project.
Users will gain an improved understanding and appreciation of of California natural history through use of this site.
Target Student Population:
The general public, as well as all levels of Middle School through Upper Division College Students, will be able to use this website to learn about algae, fungi, plants, animals, and people of California.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Some basic knowledge of biology and California climate may be useful to efficiently search the different database. Users should be familiar with use of their web browser and search functions.
Type of Material:
Collection / Database
This website can be used to learn about, identify, and study the uniformity and diversity of biological organisms in California - and their relation to different environments.
HTML and the ability to view images.
Evaluation and Observation
Quality of Content:4.7, 4.9 = 4.8
Material is near complete and continues to expand as more information is gathered about California natural history
High quality images
Accurate and includes different approaches for understanding specimens
Site has an organized quality control procedure to correct any misidentifications of organisms
Accurate annotations for each photo clearly specify location and/or object of the photo as well as verification of identity
Wide range of participants helps ensure database completeness, or at least continuing improvement
Database well thought-out and organized
Since anyone can make an entry, errors or misidentifications may be in database, even if only transient
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Potential Effectiveness: 4.0, 4.9 = 4.4
The wide range of materials provided in the site can be adapted to any situation both within the classroom and as out-of-class assignments/explorations
Builds knowledge through a strong database
Contains lots of information for interdisciplinary approach to California natural history
Demonstrates relationships by grouping organisms and concepts together
Assignments can be developed to accompany this website
Since the site is not designed exclusively as an educational resource, use of the site will require assignments with explicit instructions to help students extract information beyond occurrence and photos
Relationships between objects in the collection are not easily determined without assistance
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Ease of Use: 4.0,
5.0 = 4.5
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) provides accurate explanations on how to use photos outside of the collection
Search functions appear to be comprehensive and well organized; all searches attempted were either successful or indicated ?No match found?
All links tried functioned and materials loaded quickly in most cases
Easy to navigate with different options
Excellent organization, presentation, and speed
Very simple and straightforward design
FAQs provide much information on further use of images but no information on how to access the items in the collection
Site functions are easy to use but do not lead easily to educational use by students without direction
Other Issues and Comments:
This part (CalPhotos) of the UC Berkeley Digital Library Project is one of the most interesting and useful of the websites offered.