Archive by Author | Rob

Beat the ETC Update 1 – You ruled on the first one to finish… but…

Quick update!  In just 20 hours, you guys finished the Aquatics Aquatic Insects of the Southeastern United States expedition, which had a 3-day estimated time to completion (ETC).  That is WAY ahead of schedule!

However, two others that had ETCs of 8 and 5 days (Pinned Specimen_Tiger Beetles 3 and Herbarium_Arkansas Dendrology: Part 8: Hickories and Walnuts, respectively) yesterday, now show 9 and 6 days ETC – yes, they appear to be backsliding.  We bet that this change is more a hiccup in how ETC is calculated, but we’ll check back again and send in reports over the next couple days.

Thanks again for all the effort!

Beat the ETC (estimate time to completion)

Hi everyone, and Happy Almost New Year from everyone at Notes from Nature.  Its been a great year for NFN (bucking, perhaps, the overall trend), with our re-launch, WeDigBio and lots of great activity on the site . And we are excited about some new features coming in 2017.  In the interim, we have been trying to finish a few more expeditions off before we launch some new ones.

Below are the expeditions that are nearly finished and the ETC (estimated time to completion) — we are hoping to be able to beat those ETCs if you can help out.  Lets see by how much we can beat them.  We’ll report the outcome here soon (we hope!)  You can check how you are doing to help get there by checking our handy-dandy and now less cluttered stats page:

Aquatics_Aquatic Insects of the Southeastern United States
ETC* 3 days

Herbarium_Arkansas Dendrology: Part 8: Hickories
ETC* 5 days

Pinned Specimen_Tiger Beetles 3
ETC* 8 days

Magnified_The Killer Within: Wasps, but not as you know them
ETC* 19 days

Challenges, finishing, about NFN, and stats – a late year bloghodgepodge

A couple weeks ago, we asked our Notes from Nature citizen scientists for help completing 5 near-done expeditions.  As of last week, we completed this challenge, and we want to thank all the efforts by some dedicated folks to get us there.   We learned a lot with this challenge — the biggest lesson being that people really enjoyed tackling a challenge.  We also know now to give folks a little more time than 24 hours, especially given that some expeditions still had a fair number of transcriptions to do (and took longest to finish). We hope to find some ways to make “expedition finishers” further rewarded in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned!

A couple more quick Notes from Nature updates as we sail into 2017:

  1. We have new “About” pages!  For volunteers, the exciting part is “The Team” page where we list all our researchers and collaborators.  We hope to better organize this down the road and link people to the different expeditions, but it’s a start.
  2. Zooniverse had a small glitch with their stats and we didn’t have any Notes from Nature stats for the time period between Dec. 6th and 10th.  Those may be recoverable, but for now you will notice a gap in stats reporting those days.

We appreciate the help, as always, and happy winter holidays to all.

Finishers needed for a NFN challenge

Hi everyone, we are just about finished with 5 expeditions and we wanted to see if we could make a big push to get these done!  The total number of transcriptions needed varies from 8 needed to 321.   So, the challenge is:  Can we get these 5 expeditions done in the next 24 hours?  Let’s find out!  You’ll find the expedition names and number needed below.  Just hit the link to start transcribing.  And thanks for being a finisher!

Herbarium_Arkansas Dendrology: Part 6: White Oaks 8 more transcriptions to do

Butterfly_New World Swallowtail Butterflies from the Field Museum of Natural History 24 more transcriptions needed

Herbarium_WeDigFLPlants’ Sunflowers of Florida—Florida’s Biggest Plant Family129 transcriptions left

Herbarium_Plants of Texas: milkweeds and spurges and birches, oh my! 182 transcriptions to go

Herbarium_Arkansas Dendrology: Part 5: Blackberries, cherries, hawthorns, buckthorns, elms, hackberries, and mulberries — 24 October 2016321 transcriptions still to do

WeDigBio 10K

The Notes from Nature team — all of us — have been amazed by the efforts of our volunteers during the annual WeDigBio transcription blitz.  We are in the waning hours, here, as the event winds down at midnight tonight.

Right now, since WeDigBio started Sunday, we have had 9488 transcriptions completed.  A HUGE effort!  We are hoping to make a last push to 10K before its over, and so if you have a little more to spare to get us over the hump, we’d be excited to make that mark.

We’ll post a longer summary of all the great WeDigBio events etc. during the week, after we’ve had a chance to digest them ourselves.

Thanks, again.

Your Notes from Nature Team

Fossil preparator badges

We are excited about launching two new “themes” this week in advance of WeDigBio.  Yesterday, we launched our first fossil themed expedition, and we want to let you know about some cool badges you can get for helping us with efforts to transcribe fossil trilobite labels.  You gain the first badge, Junior Preparator (shown large below) for just taking part and doing 1 transcription.  The Senior Preparator badge is earned for completing 10 transcriptions and the Curator badge for completing 100.  Get all three!

Are you a Notes from Nature Pro?

In our last post, we mentioned that we wanted to thank all of our volunteers who have joined us from the previous Notes from Nature (NFN) and are taking part in the relaunch.  We know you’ve asked us about your efforts on the original site, and happily all those numbers are still available on your Zooniverse profile pages.  But we really do want to go above and beyond in Notes from Nature in acknowledging all those amazing folks who have helped us, and so we are offering two new badges to certify your efforts across the years on NFN.

In the new Notes from Nature, these badges automagically show up in your Field Book when you reach the badge milestone, so you may have already just achieved these – so grab a look, and if not, here’s hoping you can achieve these soon.  These will likely be the only badges we launch that relate to work on the previous Notes from Nature, so they are definitely unique (and hard to get). 

Our first badge is for an “NFN Journeyman” who has completed at least ten transcriptions in both the old Notes from Nature and the new one.  The badge reflects the continuity between the two sites, since it has been prominently displayed on the main page of both the old and new NFN.


The “NFN Pro” badge (with many thanks to Jordan Martin at the Zooniverse for the inspired artwork) is an entirely new badge that you achieve if you have performed at least 30 transcriptions in the old Notes from Nature and do the same number in the new one.   Again, thanks for improving the world and taking part in Notes from Nature!


End of Week Notes from Nature Goodness

 We are excited to have passed the 1000 mark in registered transcribers to the new Notes from Nature (NFN)!  We are also now exactly one month past our relaunch and couldn’t be happier about all the great effort.  We hope the faster pace of expeditions is something folks really like, and we have a lot of neat stuff coming in the near future – some very different kinds of expeditions for those adventurers who want to see very different kinds of specimens.

For those new transcribers to NFN who have headed here for the first time, we are glad to have you involved.  And we are also very thankful for those who took part in the first version of NFN and have come back.  For you folks in particular, we are working out some specific acknowledgements we hope to be able to get together in the next couple weeks.

Finally, we have a new link on the main Notes from Nature page which you may have noticed – “statistics”.  Hopefully it is pretty self-explanatory — give it a bit to load and you’ll get information about current progress and effort on each current expedition along with some neat tools to visualize transcriptions and talk comments over time.   We particularly like the “estimated time to completion” (ETC, for short) tool that gives an indication when an expedition might finish given current pace.   We know there are some bugs (of the software kind, rather than insect kind) to still work out, and we plan to have those licked soon, by next week.  For now, bear with us and please always feel free to provide feedback on what you think about the stats (or anything else).

Badges in Notes from Nature V2

For those of you new to Notes from Nature or who have been long-time transcribers and want to know about badges in the relaunched version, just a quick overview.  First, badges are part of a bigger overhaul of what we are calling your “Field Book”, which is customized for each user who has a Zooniverse account.  The field book is going to be a lot more interesting in the coming months, but for right now it contains information on the last set of expeditions you’ve been involved in, and the specimens and labels that you have just transcribed.  Check it out!  The link to your personalized field book is accessible on the Notes from Nature homepage!

As for badges, we have some plans for better notifying you when you earn a badge, but for the moment you’ll need to check your field book every so often to see the new badges as they happen.

For any insect expeditions you take part in (including the current bee fly and butterfly expeditions), the badges are:


These first three  (egg, catepillar, and butterfly) are earned when you transcribe 1,25, and 100 records.  We also have a fourth badge for the heroic:


that you earn when you transcribe 500 records.

For any plant expeditions, we have six badges!  Here are the first five, (representing seed, sprouts at three stages, and a young tree), earned when you transcribe 1,10,25,75,and 250 records.


For the transcriber extraordinaire, true stalwarts, and to whom we will all bow to in amazement, there is the “mature tree” badge, which is earned when you transcribe 1000 records:


We hope you want to collect them all, and we’ll be announcing more badges soon.  We hope you love the new Notes from Nature as much as we do, and keep helping to increase our knowledge of biodiversity, one record at a time!

An inordinate fondness (and doneness) for (wood-boring) beetles

A few days ago the CalBug Expedition on wood boring beetles was completed. We want to extend a special thanks to all the volunteers that made this happen!  

 We are also excited to announce that this completion also marks the transition to the next phase of NFN. You will notice that there are no longer any pinned specimen images to transcribe on the site. In fact, we won’t be posting any additional pinned insect images until the new NFN site is launched some time during late Spring or early Summer.  We are already in the process of preparing a new set of CalBug expeditions just as cool as the wood-boring beetle effort we just finished.

You might be wondering about this new and shiny NFN 2.0? Our new NFN site is going to have some great enhancements for everyone involved in the process of doing citizen science transcriptions of natural history collections, and we’ll be talking more, right here, about all the neat stuff with NFN 2.0 soon. Stay tuned!

During the next two months we will focus on finishing up (retiring) existing images of bird ledges, macrofungi labels and herbarium specimens. As these current collections finish those interfaces will be temporary closed until the new NFN is launched. When the new version goes live we plan to provide more focused content across all the interfaces. This means that we will have a lot more expeditions for you to take that are geographically and/or taxonomically focused.  Again, more soon as we get all the pieces in place.

In the meantime there are still many ways to help! We still have lots of images available of bird ledges, macrofungi labels and herbarium specimens.  In fact, we need your help especially right now, as we hope to finish up those collection in the next month or so, to time with our relaunch.

In appreciation,

The NFN Team

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