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The Specimen images category casts a wide net. Specimen image folders are frequently named for their type designation, taxon, the place where they were found, or the project that led to them being photographed. When working on a photography based project, a folder will be made for you in the 'projects' folder. Most other specimen photos will be filed in the Non-type Photography.

Specimen images should follow the following file naming structure:

Prefix_Catalog Number_Suffix_Qualifier_Component Index.jpg(or .tif)

Please note, images of specimens taken without a catalog number in the image or file name become orphaned images. These images lack a connection to the physical object, and therefore have limited use.

Here is a breakdown of what all the parts of our file naming convention stand for.

  • Prefix is a catalog prefix, which includes BEG, NPL, P, R, TX, UT or WSA.
  • Catalog Number is the numeric value of the identifier.  These values may be anywhere in the range 1 – 99,999,999.
  • Suffix is usually the specimen number (or letter) in a collection of specimens with the same catalog number.
  • Qualifier may represent additional information (such as part and counterpart identifiers of a single specimen) or a secondary catalog number.
  • Component is a letter used to distinguish between images of specimens with the same catalog number. If NPL 12345 has 3 specimens, and they are photographed separately, the letters a, b, and c are used to keep the images in order.

A few caveats you should be aware of-

  1. All component letters will be lower case
  2. If there is only one specimen, its component is ‘a’
  3. The character ‘L’ (upper or lower case) is reserved for labels only
  • Index is the label number (if there are 3 labels the indices are 1, 2, 3)  or the image sequence number of photographs of the same specimen.

Underlines are used as place holders – if you don’t have a suffix or qualifier you must still use the underlines.

Some examples:

  • TX_1987___L1.jpg – represents the first label for this specimen
  • UT_19874_A__L2.jpg – represents the second label for this specimen
  • WSA_2561__sideA_a1.jpg – represents the left side of a part/ counterpart
  • NPL_1502_1__b1.jpg – represents the first image of the second undesignated specimen with this catalog number
  • IMG_0688.tif - this image is an orphan. It is in the folder 'PilotKnob', which is a location, but we don't know which specimen it is or even how big it is!

What's an orphaned image?

When a person photographs a specimen, but does not tie the image to a specific specimen, these images become orphans.

Whats the difference between a specimen image and a preparation image?

A specimen image is a photograph of the specimen that is an accurate record of what the specimen looks like. Scale bars and a photographers color calibration sheet are often used. A preparation image takes its definition from the Specify database. In this context, preparations are specific derivatives of a specimen- like a thin section, a cast, or a CT image animation. Images of these preps are stored in the ImageLib/Preparations. Images must have tags added that show which prep type was imaged.

What if I can't find the image I need?

Images can be stored in sneaky places. Always check the 'Projects' folder first, then the type status based folders. Specific collections is also a good candidate if that information is known. Use the search function if you get stuck.

There are a lot of files. Which ones will I be saving images in most often?

  • ...\Types\TypeSpecimens: a folder with 65 sub-folders organized by catalog number. High quality images of specimens that are associated with a publication are saved here. All images must follow the Type Photography Project standards. Label scans would go in the Types/labels folder.
  • ...\Projects: Specific photography based projects will have separate folders in this location. Inform the collection manager or project supervisor if you need a project folder made.
  • ...\Non-Type_Specimens: High quality images of specimens not associated with a publication are saved here. Image Loan photos, images used for outreach and education are save here as well as documentation photographs taken in the light-box.
  • ...\Conservation\specimens: When a specimen is undergoing conservation, this folder is where we keep all of the 'before' photos, as well as timeline photos showing how the specimen looks after 6 mos, 1 year and so on.These images are to focus on the specimen, providing a scale bar, photographic color reference, and close ups of the damage. 
  • ...\Conservation\treatments: When it is determined that a specimen will undergo actionable treatment (as opposed to passive treatment, such as silica gel) the acting conservator must documents the steps of the process. These images are saved here. We keep them separate from the Specimen images for the sake of clarity. Treatment images will not necessarily clearly show the specimen.
  • ...\ImageLib\Lift Project Images: This is part of the 2014 Lift Grant project. Images of each drawer in the repository are photographed using Google Glass, and then saved here.

There are many more, but these are the most commonly used folders.