Paleobot.org

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions
What kinds of data does Paleobot.org support?
How is the data organized?
What is the quality of the data?
What other resources does Paleobot.org provide?
How is Paleobot.org funded?

Searching
How do I search the records?
Do I have to have an account to search the records?
Where are the unidentified images?

Account Information
Why should I create an account?
How do I create an account?
How do I manage my account?
Once I have an account, how do I log in?
What if I forget my password?
How is my account information used/protected?

Contributing
How do I add a record?
How do I upload a photo of an unidentified specimen?
Why do I have to upload a thumbnail image and a full-size image?
I am receiving an error message that my image is too large. How do I reduce the size of the image?
Can I upload multiple images for the same specimen, e.g., different views of the same seed?
Where can I view everything I have contributed?

Saving Data
Can I save my searches?
How can I leave a comment?

Citation and Credit
How will I get credit for the material I upload to Paleobot.org?
I am worried about people using my images without citing me. How will Paleobot.org prevent htis from happening?
How should I cite images/information on Paleobot.org?
Why isn't Paleobot.org hosted on the server of an academic institution?
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General Questions

What kinds of data does Paleobot.org support?
Paleobot.org supports a wide range of botanical data, including macrobotanical, pollen, phytolith, and starch images, as well as stable isotopic data for carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen. We welcome images and data from both modern reference collections and archaeological specimens, and in addition to the raw data we encourage contributors to include supporting information. Supporting information may include information such as such as collection location and year, archaeological site and time period, analyst comments, etc. The supporting information is fully searchable through a keyword search.

How is the data organized?
Data is organized by record within data categories. The data categories are: Macrobotanical, Pollen, Phytolith, Starch, and Isotope. A record represents a single specimen, for which there may be one or multiple photographs, plus supporting information. The supporting information in the record refers to all the photographs in the record. We allow multiple photographs for a single record because we recognize the importance of considering different perspectives (e.g., front view, side view, top view of a seed) and internal variation (e.g., multiple starch grains from a single specimen) when characterizing a specimen. In cases where multiple photographs are associated with a single record, they are numbered sequentially according to the order in which they were uploaded.

What is the quality of the data?
As with other online, open-access databases (e.g., GenBank), the quality of the data is as good as the quality of the data submitted by our contributors. Paleobot.org does not edit or verify the data submitted by our contributors, except under special circumstances. Instead, we seek to provide full transparency of the data sources and encourage discussion in our comments forum. All contributors must provide contact information so that they can be reached in the event of a disputed ID, and users may also leave comments on any record that will be viewable by all other users.

What other resources does Paleobot.org provide?
In addition to our online, open-access database, Paleobot.org also archives lists of useful off-site resources and links. You can view these lists by clicking the Resources link in the green navigation bar at the left side of the screen. In the future, we also plan to host user-contributed identification guides, instructional videos, and other publications. These will be accessible through the Publications link in the navigation bar. Finally, account holders can view the profiles of other account holders by clicking on the Contributors link in the navigation bar. The Contributors page serves as a networking tool to promote the research of contributors and to help archaeobotanists find and contact one another.

How is Paleobot.org funded?
Paleobot.org is currently privately funded. Applications are in preparation for further funding and development through various granting agencies. All search and contribution functions are open-access and free of charge.

Searching

How do I search the records?
To begin a search, first select the data category you wish to search at the top of the page: Macro, Pollen, Phyto, Starch, Isotope, or All. Thumbnails of all records in that category will appear. You can now search the category by entering a keyword into the Search box or browse the category by entering information into the Taxon drop down menu. To browse, first select the Family you wish to view. If the family does not appear, it means that no records have been entered yet for that family. After selecting a family, you may press Apply to see all records in that family, or you may continue to select the genus and species of interest for a more refined search. You may also select a Collection Type (Modern or Archaeological) and/or a Botanical Part to refine your search. Click Apply to begin the search.
Once your search results are returned, you may click on a thumbnail to view the supporting information for a particular record. A list of photographs is provided under the supporting information. The Photograph Titles are highlighted in green and numbered sequentially, e.g., Seed Macro 1, Seed Macro 2, Seed Macro 3. Click on a title to see the full image. If you are logged in as an account holder, you will see options to bookmark and/or comment on the record at the bottom of the page. After viewing the image, you may use your browser's Back button to navigate to a previous page.

Do I have to have an account to search the records?
No, you don't have to have an account to search the records. However, you will only be able to use the bookmarking and commenting functions if you have an account.

Where are the unidentified images?
To search the unidentified images, click the Unidentified link in the green navigation bar at the left of the screen. This will take you to the unidentified forum. Thumbnails for all submitted unidentified images will appear. You can search the collection by typing keywords into the Search field, and you can refine your search by selecting options in the Collection Type, Botanical Part, and Type drop down menus. Click Apply to begin the search. Once the search results are returned, follow the instructions above for How do I search the records to view individual records and images.

Account Information

Why should I create an account?
There are many advantages to creating an account. First, you will be able to bookmark records in the collection for quick reference, and you will be able to comment on other contributors' images, including images in the the unidentified forum. As an account holder, you will also be able to contribute records to the Paleobot.org collection and submit images to the unidentified forum. Finally, your name, institution, institutional contact information, and statement of research interests will be viewable on the Contributors page. This will allow other account holders to contact you, and promote your research to the paleobotanical research community.

How do I create an account?
To create a new account, click the Create new account link in the green navigation bar at the left side of the screen. Enter a unique username and email address. This account email address is private and will not be viewable online. Click Create new account.

How do I manage my account?
To manage your account, click the My Account link in the green navigation bar at the left side of the screen. Select Edit to enter or change information about yourself. Under Edit, you are given two options: Account and Profile. To change your Username, Email Address, or Password, select Account. Your account email address is private and not viewable online. To change information in your profile, select Profile. On your profile you will be asked to provide your name, an optional research statement, your, institutional information, and a photo. You will also be asked to provide a public email through which other members may contact you. This email will only be visible to other Paleobot.org account holders. Once you are finished editing your information, press Save.

Once I have an account, how do I log in?
To log in, simply enter your Username and Password in their respective fields in the green navigation bar at the left side of the homepage and click Log In. To log out, simply click the Log out link in the navigation bar.

What if I forget my password?
If you forget your password, simply click "Request new password" on the homepage, and a new password will be emailed to the address you provided in your account information.

How is my account information used/protected?
If you create an account, your name, institution, institutional contact information, and statement of research interests will be viewable by other account holders on the Contributors page. Additionally, all of your records will be associated with your name, and all photographs you submit will be automatically watermarked with a copyright symbol, followed by your name. We do not collect personal or sensitive data, such as your home address, SSN, or credit card/bank information. Paleobot.org will never sell or distribute your account information to any other entity.

Contributing

How do I add a record?
After creating an account and logging in, a +Add Record button will appear in the green navigation bar the the left side of the page. Click the +Add Record button. Follow the prompts on the screen for the specimen you are entering. Add a small thumbnail for this record. The dimensions of the thumbnail image should only be 64x64 pixels. Fill out as much information as you can. The more information you include, the easier it will be for people to find and use your record. Select Preview or Save. Once you have saved, you will be prompted to upload good quality images of your specimen.Do this place clicking on the ADD MACRO/STARCH/POLLEN/ or PHYTOLITH BUTTON below your current record. You may enter multiple images for a single record, for example multiple perspectives of a single seed or mutliple starch grains from a single tuber.

How do I upload a photograph of an unidentified specimen?
To add a record for an unidentified specimen, follow the same procedure for a normal entry but do not enter in any taxonomic information. By keeping the taxonomy at None, you will create an unidentified record.

Why do I have to upload a thumbnail image and a full size image?
Because each record may be associated with more than one image, we ask you to select one image to serve as the thumbnail for the record. We strongly suggest that you upload a reduced-size version of one of your images as the thumbnail so that it will upload faster during searches. The recommended file specifications for a thumbnail are: 72 pixels/inch, 64x64 pixels, and a JPEG file extension. The file size should be around 10-20kb. If you have trouble resizing your image, see the resizing instructions below.

I am receiving an error message that my image is too large. How do I reduce the size of the image?
There is a 2MB file size limit for all uploaded images. This is in part to facilitate the storage and retrieval of the large number of images on our server, and also because larger file sizes rarely contain more information than images scaled down to 2MB. If your image is larger than 2MB, there are many ways to reduce the size of your image. The easiest way, using Photoshop, is described below. If you are using another program, the process will probably be very similar.
Instructions for reducing file size in Photoshop CS4:
1. Open file.
2. Click Image and then select Image Size. The pop-up menu will tell you how big your file is (in MB), its dimensions (in pixels, cm, or inches), and its resolution (in pixels/inch or pixels/cm). You can adjust these parameters to make the file size smaller. We recommend a width of approximately 1000 pixels and a resolution of 72 or 150 pixels/inch. For example, a typical image might be1292 pixels wide, 968 pixels high, have a resolution of 150 pixels/inch, and have a file size of 1.19 MB. After you have adjusted the parameters of your image, click OK.
3. If you would like to convert your image from a TIFF, GIF, PNG, PSD, or other file extension to a JPEG, click File and select Save for Web and Devices. Press Save to make a copy of your image as a JPEG (the original file is not altered). You can also alter the size of the image by changing the pixel height or width before saving. By converting the image to a JPEG, you compress the file and give it an even smaller file size while maintaining a high level of quality. The same image as above (which was a TIFF) but saved as a JPEG is only 642 KB.

Can I upload multiple images for the same specimen, e.g., different views of the same seed?
Yes, and we encourage you to do so. The uploader will automatically assign each image a number in the order in which you upload the images. You may add comments describing the view depicted in each image.

Where can I view everything I have contributed?
To view all your contributions, Log In and click the My Account link in the navigation bar. Select Contributions. A list of all your contributions will be displayed.

Saving Data

Can I save my searches?
As an account holder, you may bookmark images of interest and save them in your account for later use. To bookmark an image, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Bookmark This. If you don't see this link, check to make sure that you are logged in. To retrieve or review your bookmarks, click on My Account in the green navigation bar at the left side of the page. Select the Bookmarks option. A list of all your bookmarks will be displayed. Click on a bookmark to view the original record. If you wish to remove the bookmark, click the Unbookmark This link below the image.

How can I leave a comment?
As an account holder, you may comment on an images in the database. To comment on an image, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Add New Comment. If you don't see this link, check to make sure that you are logged in. Enter a subject header and comment. You can then choose to Preview or Save. When you are finished, press Save. To cancel, just select the Back button in your browser.

Citation and Credit

How will I get credit for the material I upload on Paleobot.org?
Your name will be associated with all images and/or data you upload onto Paleobot.org. Additionally, all images you submit will be watermarked with your copyright information. Users will be able to look up your profile on the Contributors page and view all the submissions you have made, and account holders who have logged in to the site will also be able to view your institutional contact information and research profile. All users are requested to cite any information or images obtained from Paleobot.org according to the guidelines outlined on the Citation page.

I am worried about people using my images without citing me. How will Paleobot.org prevent this from happening?
We ask all users of Paleobot.org to cite any images they download from our database. We outline clear "fair use" rules for how the images may and may not be used on our Citation page, which can be accessed via the Citation link in the green navigation bar at the left side of the homepage. However, as a backup, we also take additional steps to ensure that contributors' copyright information remains with their images at all times. When you upload an image onto Paleobot.org, our software automatically embeds your copyright information onto the image. This copyright information is visible both onscreen and on any downloaded image. This way, no one can simply pull your image off the web and use it without also displaying your copyright information.

How should I cite images/information on Paleobot.org?
Detailed instructions and examples of how to cite information and images from Paleobot.org can be accessed by clicking the Citation link in the green navigation bar at the left side of the page.

Why isn't Paleobot.org hosted on the server of an academic institution?
Most academic institutions require that they retain the copyright of images hosted on their websites, and herbaria generally require that all specimens featured on their websites be physically curated within their collections. Both of these requirements make hosting an online, open-access database like Paleobot.org unfeasible on the server of an academic institution. To allow contributors to retain copyright over their images and to encourage users to upload their own personal reference collections and images of archaeological specimens, we have decided to host Paleobot.org on an independent server.