About annotations and corrections
The CalPhotos photo database
includes photos contributed by hundreds of photographers and
a variety of organizations.
identifications of plants and animals in the photos
were made by contributing photographers and
misidentifications do sometimes occur.
For more information about our policy on identifications,
see this page.
The annotation system allows experts to register with CalPhotos
to review photos, and add a comment to a photo
or change the identification of the plant or animal in the photo if it's missing or
determined to be incorrect. Notification is sent to the
photographer and the new name or comment is updated to the
database. Annotations appear on the photo's "detail" page and
"ID reviewed" is displayed with the thumbnail if the query is
made from Calflora, or if the user selects this option on the
CalPhotos query page.
example display of "ID reviewed" on query results
of a photo whose identification was corrected. The reviewer provided commentary on
the reasons the photo was identified incorrectly.
that was originally of an unknown plant. The first annotation identified it to the genus level, and
a subsequent annotation identified it to the species level.
Identification when species is unclear.
This photo illustrates a correction where the species is not known by the reviewer, but the genus is clear.
of a wildflower photograph whose identification has been confirmed.
How it works
In order to ensure the proper use of the annotation system, users are required to
register with CalPhotos
to become a reviewer. Registering is open to all users, and information is collected to
ensure that reviewers can be contacted if a question about an identification arises in the future.
Reviewers' profiles are password protected to ensure security and can be edited online using
the reviewers update form.
You can see a list of registered reviewers here.
Once they have registered, reviewers can submit annotations by clicking on
the "ID verified/not verified" link displayed under the thumbnail,
or click on the "Submit a new annotation" link on the photo's "detail" page.
A form is generated that the reveiwer can then fill out and submit for inclusion.
There is also a form here that reviewers can
use if they know the 16-digit ID number of the photo they want to annotate.
example of the annotation form reviewers fill out
Annotations are stored in a independent database table linked by the unique 16 digit
photo ID number to the CalPhotos database table. Annotations consist of some metadata
(annotation date, time, registered reviewer name, annotation type etc.) as well as the
photograph identification before and after any changes made. Annotations are classed into
The "comments" field of the record allows for the reviewer to describe in detail the reasoning behind proposed
changes or general commentary about the photograph. In order to avoid the 254 character limit of most fields,
the "comments" field is cast as an unbound text field of essentially any length. This allows the freedom of
the reviewer to make comments of any length and detail, but restricts the ability to search this field. If
user demand for searching this field is high, we will consider developing a search feature.
- Verify Identification
- reviewer agrees with previous identification.
- Correct Identification
- reviewer disagrees with previous identification and submits a new identification (now includes synonymy updates).
- reviewer submits comments to be associated with the photograph, no change to identification.
example of two annotations associated with a CalPhotos record
Proposed changes of identification are automatically checked against standard name tables to ensure uniform spelling. See References for a list of sources that are used
to verify spelling.
Once an annotation is submitted by a registered reviewer,
the new identification is immediately
search-able and indexed in the database. Changes to the plant name "browse lists" (linked to from the
query forms) are made nightly via automated scripts.
Photos are marked as "ID reviewed" on the thumbnails page of query results when there exists in the
annotation database one or more annotations of the type "ID verified" or "ID corrected".
Note: annotations before May 2000 are grandfathered into the annotation database, however
since the prior annotations came in under a variety of circumstances, these photos are not marked "ID reviewed"
on the thumbnails page unless they have a more recent identification. The reviewer for these photos is "Early Annotation".
Questions and comments
If you have any questions or comments about the annotation and
correction tools developed here,
click here to
send us an email.