Notes From Nature Talk

Request for guidelines on what issues to report and where to locate detailed instructions/tips

  • ides98 by ides98

    I am new to Notes from Nature and have a few generic questions:

    1. What types of bugs/issues should (or the admins want) reported? I have noticed items like illegible writing, two different tags within one sample, etc. Any guidelines on what to report is appreciated.

    2. Are there more detailed instructions/tips for each collection? I noticed that some collections have much more detail in the way of describing each field and providing helpful hints. I didn't know if this information is published somewhere collectively and/or if each collection wants feedback on what information would make it easier to transcribe tags.

    Thank you in advance for the help!


  • am.zooni by am.zooni

    Hello @ides98. Welcome aboard!

    I've only worked on the Herbarium collections here at NfN, so I don't have much to offer on the others, but for Herbarium transcribing, check out the FAQ here:

    This 'useful tips' discussion thread has links to various helpful websites: Many are plant-specific but some are more widely useful for things like location searches.

    As far as bugs go, do report any problems you have with the user interface - anything from "I can't log in today" to "the year on the label is older than the choice available in the selection list".

    For things like illegible handwriting, spelling error or typo, mismatch between state and county on the label, use your best judgement, supported by online search if you have time. If I transcribe something different than what's on the label (e.g., to correct a typo) or make a judgement call (e.g., whether date 4/3 is April 3 or March 4), I always put a discussion comment on the image to explain why I made that choice or what my question was. But the extent of commenting varies quite a lot from one transcriber to another, and for the different collections, so my pattern is given just as one example, definitely not as a rule or even a guideline.


  • HelenBennett57 by HelenBennett57 in response to ides98's comment.

    Hi @ides98 😃

    This thread, Transcription Standards, has a lot of overlap with the FAQ but may also have been updated more recently.

    I agree with am.zooni about always putting in a comment if you've transcribed something differently from how it was written. I try and use the hashtags listed as popular when they're appropriate.

    Digression about date formats... if the rest of the label is American, I've been assuming they're in American format. This project really highlights the need to signify months with a word (or Roman numerals), or use the international standard format; can't see that last happening widely any time soon though!

    This thread, Useful Tools, has as it says various useful tools, that make your life as a transcriber nicer.


  • am.zooni by am.zooni

    About date formats, even though I agree with @HelenBennett57 that American labels are likely using American date formats (and that everyone should use letters for the month), still add an 'ambiguous date' comment unless there is other info on the label to clarify it (e.g. Collector is something like 'Bio 412 Spring 78' and date is '4/12/78'). I've seen enough SELU Herbarium labels which use letter abbreviations for the month name, but some put month before day and some put month after day (some foreign students attending a US university perhaps?). Glen Montz, who has a large proportion of the labels in that collection, uses m-d-yyyy format in his oldest labels and MMM d yyyy in his more recent labels (lower case here indicating digits and upper case indicating letters), but when he has a date in the habitat/description, he uses d MMM yyyy format, resulting in two different date formats on the same label! So I never feel quite certain that it's safe to make assumptions.


  • md68135 by md68135 scientist

    Thanks to @am.zooni and @HelenBennett57!

    I think they have summed it up well. I think of 4 general categories of issues.

    1. A general question about how something should be done. This, in theory, should be covered by the FAQ or the "See example" pop outs.
    2. A question/issue related to a specific label. You can use a hashtag as described above, but try not to get too worried about making a mistake. Some things are just unclear or a judgement call and remember that each label is done 3 times.
    3. A bug in the system such as you can't log in or an image doesn't show. It is usually best to start a new discussion thread for this.
    4. A feature request. For example, something different you would like to see on the site. We try to keep track of all of these.

    Hope this helps and thanks for your efforts!


  • HelenBennett57 by HelenBennett57 in response to am.zooni's comment.

    Good point, I'll start tagging them.