What happened to the transcription progress?

One of the questions we have been grappling with at Notes from Nature is how to add more specimen images to the application while still showing a clear path of overall transcription progress.  On the one hand, we have many more specimen images lined up from both CalBug and SERNEC, and need to keep expanding the pool of interesting and scientifically important collections being transcribed.  On the other hand, we don’t want Notes from Nature citizen science transcribers to become frustrated by a seemingly bottomless pool and confused by constantly increasing and decreasing progress bars.  In attempting to address this challenge, we’re going to do some small tests.  We’ve added some new specimen in recent days, and would like to hear what you think about these additions.  Among the new additions, we have about 74,000 new bugs, including many bombardier beetles, dragonflies, and damselflies, as well as about 13,500 new plant specimen.  Do you like that we’ve added these new specimen images?  Were you worried by the drop in transcription percentages?  Should we work to complete “missions” with smaller subsets before adding more content?  Whatever the case, check out the new specimen on Notes from Nature!”


17 responses to “What happened to the transcription progress?”

  1. Margaret Kosmala says :

    My two cents: break the mission up into subsets. When one is complete, start a new one. That way the progress bars don’t jump around and we feel like we’re accomplishing something. You could name them, too, based on the dominant plants/insects in each one.

    • Robert Guralnick says :

      I like this idea, Margaret, and we have talked about it internally. It would create more pages one had to “click through” since under Calbug one would have a set of missions (Bombardier beetles etc). I think this might be something to do in the next iteration. We’d like to pull in more collections and start growing Notes from Nature into something bigger and better in the next year or two. Thanks much for replying!

  2. MJ Mahoney says :

    Instead of only showing percents, you could show a graph of total number of transcripts complete. That would go up over time even as percents fluctuate.

    • Rob says :

      Yep yep. We do have a “total number complete” on the homepage. But we don’t list that for each collection within NfromN, and that would be a nice thing to see. I think I will “ticket” that for the Zooniverse folks.

      • Chris says :

        I’ve added the individual collections progress on each collection’s page. You can see it on the right in the green “metadata” box.

        It’s pretty subtle though. I feel like I should call it out more.

        Besides that, I do think this is an issue that we need to resolve more completely. Ideally we would have systems in place to easily add subgroups within larger collections. Also ideally we would allow users to select which subgroups they receive records from (so they could only look at butterflies for example).

        At the moment, our capability is limited, and nonexistant respectively. But definitely something I believe we will pursue in time.

      • James says :

        Specifically, I think it might be an idea to replace the numerical percentages seen from the overall collections page (http://www.notesfromnature.org/#/archives) with the total number of transcriptions. The percentages are probably going to slow to a crawl, especially with no decimal places, but the total transcriptions with go up at a more visually pleasing rate.

  3. Dymphie says :

    Back to 18% herbarium … yes that is frustrating!

  4. Judy Schmidt says :

    I was slightly disappointed in the drop but then once I realized there were new specimens in the mix it made me happy. There’s two things that disappoint me worse:

    First, when a specimen that’s either completely missing or obscured comes up. I understand they all need transcribing but one of the most attractive things about what is an otherwise completely boring task is being able to study the insects themselves.

    Second, low quality photos that started showing up after the update. The specimens are not only less detailed but the labels are sometimes impossibly small and difficult to read.

    TL;DR version: I want more bugs but I want high quality photos of them.

  5. Judy Schmidt says :

    Sorry for spamming but I just came across this one and it is the perfect example so I couldn’t not post it.

    Bug in a bag!
    Tiny text!
    Crappy photo!

    If all I had to transcribe were these I wouldn’t do it anymore. Keep ’em rare!

    • Rob says :

      No this isn’t at all spam. We have considered the idea of a “skip” or “report problem” link for those images that are problematic, since it would provide useful information to the providers while also saving you the hassle of doing an impossible task. Maybe worth resurrecting this idea…

      • Joan says :

        This is a great idea to report problem photos and skip.

        Those bad Calbug photos come from the very beginning of the program when we were using different methods and cameras to take photos. Many of the dragonflies are also hidden in envelopes. But, outside of these early photos, this should be rare problem.

      • Darren Pearce says :

        I like the idea of having a skip or flag button. I’m not worried by the idea of the percentages dropping but it would be interesting to have more information/statistics on what has been completed. If you at the similar project http://www.pgdp.net/ they provide a good balance of stats. This is a great project and I look forward to seeing lots more collections.

      • Rob says :

        Darren, the PGDP website is really great and, like you, I think they have a nice balances of statistics. I’d like to see us provide some richer stats and we have already taken a small step showing total number of records completed as a start. Like Chris’ comment above, I’d like to highlight that a bit more clearly since its pretty subtle.

  6. Tom says :

    Related to the percentage issue is the open question about entries not being counted. I have do several dozen entries in the Herbarium collection, but my totals have not changed at all. I’ve “allowed” both Zooniverse and the Nature subset in my cookies and it has not changed my count. I would like to know that the entries are counting against the percentage left even if they’re not counting towards my personal totals.

    • Chris says :

      Hey Tom, sorry to hear about your issue. Do be rest assured that your work is being collected properly and any problems are purely in the display of progress.

      If you could email me at cs at zooniverse dot org, I’d be happy to assist you further.

  7. sylverone says :

    What if you line-graphed both the number of total images and the total number of transcriptions on the front page? I don’t know about others, but I like this sort of presentation. All the information at a glance!

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