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The Story Behind the Pictures

Introduction || Task || Process || Conclusion || Evaluation


Congratulations! The break you've been waiting for just came your way. For years you've been trying to write a feature article for a major newspaper. You just got off the phone with one of the editors at the paper. They decided to go with a story you recently pitched about the innovative New York Public Library Picture Collection Online website. The newspaper editor wants a draft outline of the story within the next month so it's time for you to get to work.


You know yourself well and you realize that you better start working on the article outline really soon. There's lots of information you need to gather in order to be ready with the outline for your editor. You need to sample the Picture Collection Online website in order to find out what types of materials are available there. You need to read about how the Collection works. And you want to interview some of the people who are responsible for putting the collection online. When you have the information you need you'll develop an outline of the article to present to your editor.


Please note, some of the materials linked in the process section of this webquest are in .pdf. These documents require Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download the free Acrobat Reader visit

  1. The first thing you need to do is to visit the Picture Collection Online website. You want to give yourself a tour of the site to get a feel of what's there and how it works. You decide to read through the help section to find out what the people behind the site have to say about the way it works. While at the site you are going to use a recording tool (File in .pdf.) to keep track of the different site options and how a visitor to the site might use each one.

  2. After reading through the site help you decide to try to locate some images to see what types of materials are available in the collection. You realize there are several different methods for finding images so you want to try a few to see how they work and what their differences are. While performing the searches you decide to keep notes on the searches on a sheet you like to call, I Found It (File in .pdf.)

  3. You are amazed at the images you've found on the website and you realize now is the time to talk to some of the people behind the making of the site. So, you set up an interview with The Picture Collection Online Project Director (File in .pdf.) to talk about what it took to create a site like this, and to find out a little bit more about the images provided on the site.

  4. After talking to the Project Director you realize that there's one important aspect of the site that you've been overlooking and that's the educational materials available to teachers. Although you noticed the link labeled classroom ideas while perusing the website you didn't pay too much attention. You decide to go back and look at this a little more closely with an eye to highlighting this piece of the site in an article sidebar.

  5. It's time to develop the outline to present to the editor at the newspaper. This isn't new to you, you've developed outlines like this for lots of articles that you've written in the past. However, you are finding that there is so much information you want to get across that it's a little difficult to select what are the most important aspects to cover for the newspaper's audience. When putting together the outline you decide to use your trusty outline organizer (File in .pdf) to put your ideas together.

  6. The outline is complete, now there's just one more thing you want to make available to your editor when you submit the outline and that's some examples of images available on the website. You decide to use the My Gallery feature of the site to collect and order a couple of images to present to your editor. You go back to the site one more time and search for New York City newspapers. You find an image you think your editor will enjoy, add it to your gallery, and find out how to purchase a copy of the image to include with your outline. You write instructions (File in .pdf) for the editor so she'll know how you were able to purchase a copy of the image and include it with your outline.

  7. That's it! You sent your outline to your editor. Now you just have to wait to hear what she thinks.


Congratulations, the editor you are working with thinks the article outline is great and wants you to go full steam ahead in writing the piece for the Sunday magazine section of the newspaper. She's even talking about making it a cover story. It's your dream come true.


As you wait for word from your editor about the article you decide to think a little bit about what you learned about The Picture Collection Online while developing the article outline. The following questions will help you to evaluate that process. (Please note: when you submit the form below it will be sent to Picture Collection Online staff. They will use the information you send to evaluate the success of this webquest.)

What grade level do you teach? (Check all that apply)



Other, if checked other, please specify below.

What subjects do you teach? (Check all that apply)

English Language Arts

Social Studies/History

Other, if checked other, please specify below.

Have you ever used a webquest before?

After completing this webquest on your next visit will you feel confident in your abilities to locate images on the site?

If you answered no, which of the following would you like story more information on in order to feel confident in your use of the site? (Check all that apply)
Browse Feature
Quick Search
Advanced Search
Using the Search Results
Classroom Ideas
My Gallery
Other (If other please specify)

What suggestions do you have for Picture Collection Online staff related to this webquest or The Picture Collection Online?

Name (Optional)

E-mail (Optional)