Finding everything you want, every time
People are a legitimate source of information. This was the mantra I learnt in the early days of my career at the BBC, more years ago than I care to remember. Back then finding out things was more difficult with no handy Google. But the adage still holds true, particularly for sourcing material that search engines do not cover. I am referring of course to databases, which cannot be interrogated by them and other similar data that forms part of the deep web.
If you find yourself faced with a database that you've never used before, you may get lucky and find that a simple search term like for instance 'penguins' will retrieve all relevant hits. But you may find a significant number of irrelevant items amongst the search results. This could be due to a variety of factors, the most common being that the word 'penguins' occurs in more than one field so that the relevance of the retrieved item in the hit list is not obvious. If for instance you search for 'penguins' on NHNZ Images on-line database you will find an overwhelming number of hits, too many likely to be very useful for a quick-fix answer to the question what penguin footage do we have? So there is no real substitute for asking the question directly of the library.
You can use the service offered by a couple of web portals, to send a request to all the libraries that subscribe to the site (which is most of them). Check out www.footage.net and www.stockfootageonline.com. The first also has a search facility whereby you can interrogate the databases of several libraries simultaneously for 'penguins' - not surprisingly you'll find NHNZ Images has the greatest number of records! Do talk to us either in person, on the phone or via email (which is the easiest given the distances and time-zones involved with living at the bottom of the world.