The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Image Library is a comprehensive collection of photos, documents, tutorials, learning modules and fact sheets. The library includes a search engine and is divided into twelve areas of inquiry for easier navigation, with each resource area following the same basic organizational format.
This site is a resource for educators seeking material to supplement existing coursework.
Target Student Population:
The material is appropriate for high school and undergraduate students. Some elements of the site (photos) may even be appropriate for younger students - depending upon the presentation content.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
There are no prerequisites for this site, although some appreciation and knowledge wildlife biology will help in understanding what is presented.
Type of Material:
The National Image Library contains resource material in the form of photos as well as downloadable documents, fact sheets, species status reports and oral histories (as transcripts).
The material in the National Image Library can be used to enhance classroom presentations, as discussion assignments, or out-of-class assignments.
The main site uses HTML/Text, although specific resources are provided in various formats including .jpg .pdf, and .flv, depending on what type of materials are needed.
Evaluation and Observation
The information is a comprehensive survey of what may be studied in wildlife biology
Content quality is generally strong
Most of the images are good quality, many of the videos are also very good
Each section contains a great deal of additional material in the form of species recovery plans, histories, biographies, etc.
Some rare or hard-to-find images and videos are provided
Images, videos, and audio files are appropriately categorized
Some of the transcribed interviews and other written formats download without any page formatting, making them difficult to read
Access to some of the modules is not clear
Some modules are VHS format - suggesting that they have to be requested from USFWS
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The National Image Library is not structured as a stand-alone learning tool, but rather as a library of supplemental material; in this capacity, its potential as a resource for educators is strong
This is a good site for getting an idea of what might be seen in nature
The large collection makes it fun to explore many aspects of wildlife biology
Most (or perhaps all) of the images and videos are in color
The materials, and the way they are presented, are not necessarily engaging, but still very straightforward
Four of the twelve "chapters" at this site contain less that 40 total entries
"Fish and Habitat Conservation" has only 14 total items available for viewing; as a result, educators seeking specific information in areas such as "Landscape Conservation" (35 items) or "International Affairs" (30 items) may need to search other resources
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Users can specify image, video, audio, or document when searching the collection
Different aspects of wildlife biology can be browsed
No defective links or major bugs were found
Parts of the site could benefit from greater structure; for instance, the "Wildlife Refuges" chapter contains over 3,800 individual items, with no way to sort or prioritize that information except to page through it; most other chapters contain several hundred informational items - with much the same problem