Bird Curatorial Manual | Curating Media
About MVZ Media
This section deals with curating media associated with bird specimens, egg/nest specimens, or bird observational records in Arctos. Media may include audio recordings or images, and images may show the specimen, bird observation, or habitat as well as related expedition photos (e.g., people, camp). The MVZ egg and nest collection was photographed as part of a National Science Foundation grant-funded project to increase access to that collection, along with digitization of audio recordings archived in the museum.
- New egg and nest specimens are routinely photographed and linked to the records in Arctos as part of the curatorial workflow. Likewise, any original data slips received with egg and nest specimens are scanned and linked.
- Egg Photography Protocol
- Egg Data Scanning Protocol
Submission of audio recordings should follow MVZ protocols.
Storing Media at MVZ
Media should be stored on the MVZ local intranet server, with the location dependent on the media type. The Staff Curator will provide access to the correct directory on the server, or will copy them to the directory as needed if media are shared electronically (e.g., flash drive, Box, Google Drive).
- Audio recordings – New audio recordings to catalog should be stored on the server’s OCIP drive in the directory Data —> New_Recordings_to_Catalog. Create a folder for each accession with recordings.
- Bird specimen or field images (including observations) – Bird specimen or field images should be stored on the server’s CuratorialMedia drive in the directory Media —> MVZBird. Create a folder for each accession with images. If images are of specimens that have been cataloged into the collection (e.g., images taken by visitors or curatorial assistants), create a folder for each set of specimens that describes the content of the folder.
- Egg or nest specimens – Images of egg or nest specimens should be stored on the server’s Curatorial drive in the directory Bird Curatorial —> Bird Eggs —> Egg Photos or Nest Photos, respectively. Place new photos in a “to upload” folder labeled with a description of the contents (e.g., “miscellaneous to upload” or “Accn14615_to_upload”).
- Egg or nest data slips – Scanned images of data slips associated with egg/nest specimens should be stored on the server’s Curatorial drive in the directory Bird Curatorial —> Bird Eggs —> Egg Data Scans —> slip scans. A different directory labeled “card scans” was used for scans of MVZ egg catalog cards, but should not be used for new data scans. Place new scans in a “to upload” folder labeled with a description of the contents (e.g., “miscellaneous to upload” or “Accn14615_to_upload”).
There are three main steps involved in curating media and making them accessible for research, education, and public use:
- Cataloging media – Assigning a unique number to each media object.
- Uploading media to TACC – Making media accessible through a unique URL.
- Linking media in Arctos – Creating relationships between media and data in Arctos.
Detailed procedures for each of these steps are described below.
Audio recordings in WAV format should be converted to MP3 for web viewing prior to uploading the media to TACC. Both file formats will be uploaded to TACC. The easiest way to convert WAV to MP3 files is through Audacity (available for free):
- Open Audacity and drag your file(s) to the window. You can drag multiple files at once.
- If you are converting a single file, go to File —> Export —> Export as MP3. Keep the default settings, select your folder, and hit Export.
- If you are converting multiple files, go to Select —> All, and then File —> Export —> Export Multiple. Keep the default settings, select your folder, and hit Export.
- If you have files in multiple folders, convert one folder at a time. Close the Audacity project but do not save it. Move to the next folder and repeat the conversion process.
Audio recordings are assigned a cut number that specifies a unique recording for a cataloged record (specimen or observation). If a specimen or observation has more than one recording, assign a separate cut number to each one. Each cut will have its own metadata (see tab for Linking Media in Arctos). The spreadsheet below shows the next available cut number (the original document is located in the MVZ shared Google Drive folder). The Staff Curator will assign all audio cut numbers for bird recordings.
Eggs and Nest Images
Egg and nest photos should be taken after the specimens have been cataloged and labeled, but prior to installing them into the collection. Photographs of eggs and nests are assigned the same catalog number as the specimen, with file names following this convention: 14908_egg.tiff and 14908_nest.tiff (Note: images may have the extension *.tif from the camera, but should be renamed with a *.tiff extension prior or during the ingest to TACC).
Scans of egg/nest data slips are also assigned the same catalog number as the specimen, but without “egg” or “nest” in the filename, e.g., 14908.tif (Note: extension *.tif is used for these scans).
Bird Specimen, Observation, or Field Images
Photographs other than those for eggs and nests are cataloged in the MVZ image collection. These may include images of bird specimens, observations, or fieldwork (e.g., people, camp, habitat, etc.).
The next available image number is taken from the log file labeled “MVZ_Media_Accession_Catalog” (accessed through the MVZ shared Google Drive folder. The Staff Curator will assign all catalog numbers for bird-related images. Information requested includes: collection (e.g., MVZ:Bird or MVZObs:Bird), accession number, begin and end catalog number, date assigned, name of person entering the information, and a brief description of the material. This document should be updated as the files are uploaded and ingested to TACC, and subsequently linked in Arctos.