|Creating a Forestry Digital Image Database for UBC Research Forests
Objective: The Forestry Digital Image Database project will create a library of digital images that will provide the teaching and learning community in the Faculty of Forestry as well as the general public with access to a web-based repository of approx. 15,000 images from the field of Forestry and applied sciences. Most of the images were collected at UBC's Research Forests and reflect research and different forestry practices, from classical to experimental and from the beginning of the 1900s to the present. Users will acquire increased knowledge and comprehension about the forests of coastal and interior BC, forestry research and practices conducted there.
Rationale: Concepts taught in Forestry are extremely diverse, ranging from principles of Physics and Biology to complex concepts of Ecosystems and Sustainable Forest Management. One of the means of enhancing the delivery of this information in the classroom is the use of static or moving images accompanied by verbal descriptions or explanatory text. Such visual aids help students make connections between so many concepts and relate them to various forest practices and management principles. Professors could also illustrate field research conducted on the forests to both undergraduate and graduate students while on campus. International students could learn more quickly about the geography and forests of British Columbia, without having to travel very far. As such, the image database will serve as an invaluable resource for students and researchers and will be readily available for use in-class and off-campus, thus reducing the time spent on searching the Internet and providing more time to learn from its content. The database has a historical value as well, containing unique forestry images spanning many decades, and will serve as an archive of these heritage resources.
Methods: Research will first be conducted about image cataloguing standards and suitable software, with consultation with other faculties at UBC that have already constructed successful image databases. The forestry image database structure will then be developed under the guidance of the MKRF database administrator. Approximately 15,000 images will be scanned to standard resolutions, catalogued and loaded into the database along with corresponding metadata. A web interface will then be created in compliance with industry-standard software development methods. Testing of the database will be among a select population from whom feedback will be invited. Once feedback is incorporated into the design, the web site will be launched and maintained for the long term by the administrator. User tutorials will be created and remain available online for people to learn about database use and digital image manipulation.
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Bruce Larson, Professor, Research Forests, Faculty of Forestry