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Out of the Database, Into the Classroom
Appendix B: Discussion Guide

Introductory statement: us, what we do, why we want to have this discussion

We work for RLG, a non-profit membership organization dedicated to helping museums, libraries, and archives improve scholarly access to their resources. USC is a member of RLG, and has agreed to help us in our current investigation into how digital images are used for teaching, and how the use of digital images can be improved. We provide two databases of digital surrogates, "Cultural Materials" and "The AMICO Library." The images in both databases are cleared for educational use and specifically aim to support instruction.

We’d like to learn from you how you find digital images, how you use them in teaching, how you manage them for repeated use, and what obstacles keep you from working more efficiently with digital images. Most of all, we’re interested in how images get from the place where you find them (e.g. a licensed resource, the Internet, etc.) into the classroom or elsewhere.

We are conducting interviews such as this one on three campuses (USC, UCB and Stanford) to get a first-hand account from faculty who use digital images for instruction. RLG has formed an Advisory Group on Instructional Technology to help research this question, and expert staff from nine of our members (UC Berkeley, Stanford, Cornell, Penn State, Brigham Young, U of Toronto, Temple U, U of Southern California, James Madison U) provide us with guidance.

Things you tell us today can help us shape our interface to Cultural Materials and AMICO. In addition, we'll make our findings—without your name or other identification—available to others interested in how digital surrogates can support teaching and learning.

Remember to inform them of the taping / how we’ll use the tape!

Introductory questions: who are you, what do you do, how long have you been doing it? (Name / Subject Interest)

Tell us the story of the lifecycle of digital images as you experience it:

  • Where do they come from?
  • Where do you put them?
  • How do you use them inside the classroom?
  • Outside the classroom?

Listen to what they say when they talk spontaneously in response to the above prompt, if they will, then ask, as needed:

  • Where do the images come from?
    • The world wide Web? (Google?)
    • Campuswide resources?
    • Personal collections?
  • Which work best for you? Why?
  • Who collects and prepares the images?
    • You?
    • You with the help of librarians, slide librarians, or students?
  • What exactly do you get when you gather images?
    • Descriptive data elements
      Notes about context
    • Descriptive data format
      As part of the image?
      As an external text document?
      As structured text (such as XML) suitable for transfer to a database?
    • File format (e.g. gif, jpeg, tiff)
    • File size
  • Do you download more than one image at a time?


  • Who puts the images where?
    • On your hard drive?
    • Into a campuswide resource for making images accessible for teaching?


  • What software do you use to present images in the classroom?
    • PowerPoint
    • MDID
    • Insight
    • WebCT/Blackboard
  • Do you like to have a network connection to a remote resource when using images in the classroom or prefer to have them on a local drive?
  • Do you need to be able to post them on a course Web site?
  • What roles do/can digital images fulfill outside the classroom?
    • Do you refer students to image research resources?
  • Do you like to have a network connection to a remote resource when using images outside classroom or prefer to have them on a campus machine?

Tell us about the transition from teaching from slides to teaching from digital images.

  • What advantages do digital images have over slides in your classroom? What disadvantages?
  • What advantages do digital images have over slides as an out-of-classroom instructional aide? What disadvantages?

Tell us what you'd like to change about this process, in an ideal world.

  • Where would you get the images?
  • What would the ideal resolution for images to be used in the classroom be? (What level of detail do you need to show?)
  • What would be the ideal file format for an exported image?
  • How would you display them in the classroom?
  • How would you use them outside of the classroom?
  • How would your images be managed so that they’re available the next time you teach a similar / the same class?

Tell us about the image resources available to you.

  • What digital image resources do you use?
    • Which ones work best for you (in terms of functionality, not content)? Why?
  • How do you learn of the availability of image resources?
  • How do your students learn of the availability of image resources?
  • If you could have access to an additional image resource, which would be at the top of your list?

Tell us about copyright.

  • Are copyright issues a concern for you when you teach from digital images?

Tell us about other types of media.

  • Are issues with using different types of digital resources (video, audio, online books, etc.) the same as digital images? Different?