How To Start A Species Page?
You should start by preparing content relevant to the species. At the very least, the following information should be included:
- Names: Scientific, Vernacular, Synonyms
- Type information: Type material (where is it kept?), historical information on the study of the type material
- Species diagnosis tools: Illustrations and texts to help identify and confirm species.
- Distributional Information: where can the species be found
- Biological information: Life history (lifespan, behavior, reproduction etc.)
- Anthropic associations: Economic importance to humans, conservation status
- Links to associated literature: Published papers on species description, behavior, Genbank records
Some pointers on getting your audience interested
- Keep in mind your target audience - who are they, and what do they expect?
- Keep your material interesting but professional. This means using formal language and not too informal. This also means that you italicize all non-English words - including all scientific binomial names.
- Arrange information in a palatable way. Most people see only the top part of a website and use it to decide if they want to read on further. If you put all the important but boring stuff up front in a wall of words, it may put people off. On the other hand, if they start seeing pictures immediately, it piques interest much more. Pepper your site with images if possible and leave the more 'humdrum' stuff to the bottom of the page.
- Pictures and other interesting media (e.g., video clips, flash applets) can spice up your site much better than words.
Referencing and Copyrights
Species pages are secondary sources of information in that they draw upon other references such as species descriptions and behavioral studies etc. Thus it is inevitable that you will need to take information from other sites and/or papers to generate your own species page. There are points to note on locating your source data and adhering to copyright protocols. The tip boxbelow gives some avenues for acquiring information on your species:
Some avenues for acquiring information on your species
- Google and Wikipedia: Google is very good at locating journal articles. Wikipedia also provides a decent amount of information on species, but they are again second-hand information that needs to be verified.
- Other species pages (such as those listed above) will provide valuable information. But use them only as a reference to your own page. Inspect those species pages and think about what is missing and/or could be improved upon, and implement it in your own page.
- Biodiversity of Singapore (BoS): A recent initiative driven by the LKCNHM and NUS Evolutionary Biology Laboratory, it is a rapidly-growing digital reference collection of specimen images from various biodiversity discovery projects in Singapore. Where available, species entries will have external links to other literature/online sources of information on the species.
- NUS Databases. The NUS Library's databases such as Web of Science and JSTOR are powerful tools to search for your data. If you cannot access an article, it may be available as a physical copy in the NUS Science library archives.
- LKCNHM Journals and e-Books: The LKCNHM hosts a number of scientific publications such as the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, as well as biodiversity records such as the SG Biodiversity Records and LKCNHM e-book series. All these resources pertain largely to Singaporean and Southeast Asian biodiversity.
- Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL): This is an initiative to digitize and upload older biological articles onto its site. Chances are, if the species description is old enough (e.g. 1900s), you will find it there.
- Biodiversity Library of South East Asia (BLSEA): Similar to BHL, this NUS Libraries-driven initiative focuses on collating literature pertaining to Souteast Asian biodiversity.
The need to cite any information you use should also be ingrained in you by now.
- CITE all information that you use. The presentation of a species page is no less important than a written journal article. Citations lend credibility to your information.
- TEXT: If you quote text, indicate that it is presented verbatim from the source ("quoted from...."). Otherwise, if you paraphrase, indicated that it is "adapted from...".
- IMAGES: It is easy to acquire images off the net. Make sure that the source allows you to paste on your site. See Creative Commons for more information. Images from journal articles may have different copyright rules depending on the journal. Make sure you check the journal guidelines. One way of overcoming such image copyrights (esp. for illustrations) is to completely reproduce it from scratch.
- VIDEOS: Likewise for videos - most video platforms allow you to embed their material, but check the small print. Popular platforms such as Youtube and Vimeo usually have no issue.
- All media should be uploaded into the Wiki.nus server
Choosing your Species
There are probably 50,000 - 100,000 species of life within Singapore alone - it isn't too difficult to choose one! You are highly encouraged to check out and select a species from the Biodiversity of Singapore Digital Reference Collection.
However, please make sure to pick a species that has not been curated yet. This link here provides the list of species pages (in their legacy format) that have been curated by previous students of the module.
This page was authored by Yuchen Ang (nhmay)
Last curated on 23 August 2018