Working Through Old Slides and Field Notes

It may be apparent from my recent uploads that I was very busy in the field during the period 1978 to 1980 (and beyond). While a large portion of those records are from my personal birding travels and field research, there was another major source of observations that I accumulated. At the time I was working for a private environmental consulting firm as a wildlife biologist. They sent me to do field work at numerous sites scattered across Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, and as far as Florida and Illinois. I have fair documentation of all of those activities, often with daily bird lists, etc. But at times I wrote field notes with only generalized itineraries, dates, and locations. I have numbers of field checklists which pinpoint some of those efforts. At other times, determining dates and places involves some extrapolation and interpolation.

On most of those efforts I took quite a few habitat images to document the project sites, and no small number of pictures of plants and animals on now-fading Ektachrome slide film. Some, but not all, of the slide rolls had date stamps which, aided by my work calendars and field journals, help associate images with dates and locations. But perhaps 1/3 of the slide rolls lack date stamps. Luckily I had gone through all of those slides many years ago and at least marked a project name or general location (e.g., "Black Mesa, AZ") on the slide boxes. Later on, I organized all the slides in slide sheets and carried over the location information onto those sheets.

My notes and documentation are far from perfect but they have allowed me to properly locate and date the vast majority of the images. For those images with solid dates and locations, the process of scanning the slides and uploading images to iNaturalist is straightforward. Where the slides have little/no associated information and/or my field notes are more generalized, I have been very cautious about assigning places and dates. As a rule, I am only assigning dates and locations to images which I can date to within one week (e.g. +/- 2 or 3 days max) and place at no coarser than a county-level occurrence. For general observations (i.e. nothing rare or out of the ordinary), I hope this is sufficient for the iNat database. And happily, I would estimate that probably 90% of my images, particularly from my college years in the early 1970s up to the digital era starting in the early 2000's, are quite precise on dates and locations. I am still disappointed on occasion when I have some nice images from a project site that lack any notes and for which my memory fails me. Those will never see the light of iNaturalist.

So how many old slides am I working through? I'd have a hard time pinning the actual number down. I recently made a back-of-the-envelope calculation that I probably have something on the order of 10K to 15K slides. Of course, many of those are scenery shots, pictures of family and friends, etc. I would make a guess that perhaps at most 1/4 to 1/3 of all those slides include usable images of some organism. So the raw arithmetic would tell me that I will have eventually scanned anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000 images. A quick check of "My Observations" from the dawn of time up through December 31, 2002, so far indicates that I have already uploaded about 1,250 observations of about 900 species (but not necessarily all from slide film). And many of those have multiple images. Looking at the bookcase of binders with all my slides, I'm sure I'm nowhere near half-way done with the task, so the higher estimate of the eventual collection of images may be closer to the final total.

Sorry, gotta go. I have some slides to scan.

הועלה ב-ינואר 28, 2024 03:46 אחה"צ על ידי gcwarbler gcwarbler


Wow, what an amazing set of slides you have! It's an impressive effort you have undertaken, too. What equipment are you using to scan the slides? Are you doing bulk scanning?

פורסם על-ידי rambrose לפני 4 חודשים

Hey, Rich, Thanks! Years ago, I bought a second-hand but high-end Nikon slide scanner: Nikon CoolScan V ED. I do the scanning with VueScan software (VueScan 9 x64, Professional Edition, Hamrick Software, I prefer the flexibility of the settings in this software versus a couple others I've tried. I scan all the slides manually, one-by-one. At 2000 dpi, a single scan takes about 30 seconds. With all the fussing I do (slide labeling, cropping, color adjustment, etc.), I spend about a minute per slide probably on average. I keep the scanner right next to my computer to remind me to keep plugging away at the task. Obviously, rainy or cold days in mid-winter or extremely hot days in summer are good times to spend time on the project. In nicer weather, I'm either out in the yard or traveling, so the slide scanning often takes a back seat for some months.

פורסם על-ידי gcwarbler לפני 4 חודשים

Thanks for that recommendation for the scanning software. I have a Nikon slide scanner I bought years ago for one of my research projects. It has a bulk loader, which I was thinking could be useful for getting through a lot of slides. The problem is that the Nikon software that came with the scanner was for Windows XP or something like that; I probably have an old XP computer hanging around, but I'd rather use something more modern. Sounds like VueScan could be just the ticket. I just need to make sure I can get the scanner connected to my computer.

פורסם על-ידי rambrose לפני 4 חודשים

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