Updating Taxon Names for BHL Images

Since most BHL images are scanned from old literature, many of the names will be out of date. If the old name is listed as a synonym in the EOL database, this is not a problem.  Images tagged with the old name will automatically be associated with the appropriate taxon page.  However, if the old name is not yet featured on EOL, it would be good if taggers did a little bit of detective work to find the current name for the taxon in the BHL plate.

Step 1: Check if the name from the original work is represented on EOL

Simply type the name in the EOL search box and see if there are any search results. If EOL returns one or more exact matches to the name you searched for, you can use this name to tag the image. EOL may also have the name listed as a synonym of another name. In that case, you can either use that name or the original name. The image should end up on the right EOL taxon page either way.

If the name cannot be found at all, the EOL search may suggest an alternative spelling. If this is the case, examine the suggested name carefully and try to figure out if this name may be appropriate for the organism pictured. For example, if you are looking at a picture of a beetle, and the suggested name is that of a bird, you clearly have to keep looking.

Step 2: Check other sources for names that are not in EOL

If you cannot find the name of the organism in EOL, it's time to seek help from other sources. Here are some sites that provide information about names and synonyms for different organisms:

For example, if you have a mystery name for a plant, go to the The Plant List and type in the name. With some luck, The Plant List will tell you that the name is a synonym of some other name, which is what you should then use to tag the image.

If you tag an image based on information from another site, it would be great if you could leave a comment on the image explaining where the name in the machine tag came from.

Step 3: Search the web for clues

If all else fails, do a simple web search to see if there is any web site out there that may provide further information about the name from the original work.

Step 4: Try to identify the organism(s) in the picture as best you can

If all else fails, simply tag the image with the taxon you recognize. For example, if it's a mammal, you can use taxonomy:class=mammalia and if it's a moth, you can use taxonomy:order=lepidoptera. This will at least make the image available for import to EOL. Once it is on EOL, a curator may be able to identify it.

Questions, comments? Please post them to the Need help tagging Biodiversity Heritage Library Images thread in our Flickr Group Discussion Forum.