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Off Topic: Bird Transcriptions: Combining Undergrad Nerdiness w/ Librarian Nerdiness

April 18, 2010

Via a colleague’s Facebook post, I was alerted to this post from the National Archives on Cultivating Citizen Archivists. It talks about distributed, participatory methods of working with data, such as a project to let people mark craters on Mars images.

The post also mentioned the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) North American Bird Phenology Program, in which people can log on to transcribe handwritten data from cards noting what birds where seen where and when from 1880-1970 into a database where it can be more readily searched and used. Some of you know, my undergrad degree was in geology (although I wasn’t exactly the world’s best geology student), and I did some water quality projects with a USGS field office in Knoxville, TN. So while I’m not exactly a bird person, this project caught my eye. I don’t know how many cards I’ll do (I’ve done 20ish cards thus far, a small slice of the 6 million total cards), but I figured some was better than none. You can also choose to transcribe cards by specific species or location, so I’ve been doing records for Tennessee cards/bird sightings.

How cool! 🙂

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 19, 2010 7:40 am

    You worked for the Survey? Figures I guess. I work with them some too, and I could see you fitting right in. Those water quality guys are monsters for their data.

    • April 19, 2010 8:06 am

      I did a couple of winter term projects and a summer project with them doing sampling and analysis of water quality around the Smokies area. It was great. 🙂

    • April 19, 2010 5:32 pm

      When I was in grad school at UTK nearly all the environmental engineering grad students were into those projects up in the Smokies. Except me. My adviser was all into dams so I never got sent to the Smokies for the day.

    • April 19, 2010 6:24 pm

      Well, on the upside, you never had to stand chest-deep in a river up there in January. 😉

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