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In focus: „Our images must be as authentic as possible.“

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

A colorful chapter introduction in Latin that motivates fifth graders, or an electron microscope image of a plant cell for high school students: In educational media, there are many requirements for visual material, animations, or videos. That is why special tools are needed to search for and find media effectively. In this interview, Zeynep Arghan, who provides comprehensive support for the picturemaxx application at Cornelsen, explains these tools and how she uses them in her daily work.

Interview with Zeynep Arghan, Consultant Legal Tech Solutions at Cornelsen Verlag GmbH

Illustration with Quote of Zeynep Arghan and picture of Cornelsen headquater

Ms. Arghan, what role do images play at a major educational media provider like Cornelsen? What kind of images are focused on?

Zeynep Arghan: "As an educational media provider, we naturally want to bring learners closer to the content in our textbooks with attractive images. There is a reason for the saying: A picture is worth a thousand words. However, nowadays, it is no longer just pictures. Animations, videos, and audio materials are becoming more important because digital learning has already entered everyday life. It is important for us to find images that are as authentic as possible."

How is the topic of images organized at your company? How do you always find the right “authentic” – or even the best – image for each text?

Zeynep Arghan: "The image must emphasize and support the content. There’s no such thing as an overall “best image”; it depends on whether, for example, it’s a motivational chapter starter for fifth graders or an electron microscopy shot for high schoolers.

The requirements for the “best” image go far beyond aesthetics:

In an English language textbook, an authentic British background may be important; in a physics book, a pulley should be recognizable in detail so that an exercise or problem can be linked to it; in a biology textbook, we must be sure that the image of a toad actually shows Alytes obstetricans and not, say, Alytes maurus. Biologists always want to see the whole animal; the subject must not be cropped. Microscope images are not of much use without specifying the magnification."

What challenges does a large educational media provider like Cornelsen face when it comes to researching media? How are these solved?

Zeynep Arghan: "We obviously have a wide range of textbooks and digital educational solutions – from first-time readers in elementary school to advanced biology courses in high school.

Therefore, the challenges are correspondingly diverse.

The metadata of a piece of media is important if our editors want to search and find media accurately. Unfortunately, not all agencies are adept at including the correct data. Inappropriate or even incorrect keywording of the media makes it difficult for us to search effectively. Another issue is that we don’t get all the information from some providers: Do the people pictured agree to have their images published? Are we even allowed to show the building or the exhibit? Sorting out these issues yourself takes resources and time."

You have worked with the services of my-picturemaxx when researching and purchasing media and have been doing so for many years. How does the software help you in your daily work? To what extent does it contribute to efficiency and quality in image research?

Zeynep Arghan: „I have been working as a picturemaxx administrator for many years. I support colleagues in their daily work with my-picturemaxx, answer questions, and conduct regular training. The training courses keep my colleagues well-informed and in a position to fully utilize the possibilities of the application.

One important aspect is that the portfolios of several providers can be searched simultaneously via my-picturemaxx. This enables our editors to compare the media directly. The editorial team can then choose the “best” medium."

Which features in my-picturemaxx do you find to be absolutely necessary and why?

Zeynep Arghan: "At a large educational media provider like Cornelsen, many of my colleagues work in parallel with the software, so smooth collaboration and effective exchange are essential. For this purpose, we use, for example, the function to share lightboxes (i.e., overviews of images that you want to remember). This allows the editorial offices to work very efficiently with the licensing department. We also like utilizing the ability to create project folders: These management tools are indispensable for editors’ daily work."

This interview was conducted for picturemaxx by media journalist Julia Gundelach.

Thank you!

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