I went to see the Dale Chihuly glass at Kew Gardens today. Which was pretty fab. This Flickr slideshow gives you some idea. It finishes 15th January, so if you haven’t seen it and you’re in London, go and have a look.
There’s a group on Flickr called Field Guide: Birds of the World. Pretty self-explanatory, really – they’re trying to form a collection of photos that can be used to help identify birds. It’s a great idea and they’ve already got a lot entries, though it’s weighted towards European and N American birds, not surprisingly. But it quickly exposes the failings of Flickr as a content-management system. Although it’s possible to search within the group pool for photos tagged with a particular name, it’s not obvious how to do it. More crucially for a field guide, it’s not easy enough to add information to a photo in an organised way – for example, to provide a link from a species to any confusion possibilities. Or to give distribution info.
In some ways, like most reference works, it’s a good candidate for a wiki; there’s a network of people who are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the subject, it’s naturally modular and so on. The internet would allow for many pictures attached to each species, as well as audio and even video. You could easily establish a standard template for an entry, to encourage people to include all the useful information – distribution, easily confused species, call, and so on. I suppose I could set it up – the Wikimedia software which Wikipedia runs on is open-source and I think I could set it up on my server space, although I suspect there would be a bit of a learning curve to cope with. More seriously, if it ever really caught on, especially with a lot of audio and video, it would be quite bandwidth-heavy.
With mobile broadband on the verge of becoming widespread, people might even start using it in the field to complement traditional field-guides.
Sorry for the exaggeration marks.
But it is pretty cool. It seems to be this guy‘s idea, but this is the recipe I’m most tempted to try:
You need to click on either the link or the photo above to see why it’s such a fab idea. I’m almost tempted to try doing one of these myself.
Well, it’s not actually a meme unless anyone copies the idea, but hey-ho. Or at least, I guess technically it still is a meme, just an unsuccessful one. Don’t get me started on evolutionary theory.
Search Flickr for photos tagged with your first name. View them ordered as ‘most interesting’. Post the most interesting photo to your blog. The most interesting photo tagged with ‘Harry’ is a Dutch cuckooflower:
Free bit of trivia – cuckooflower is also known as ‘milkmaid’ or ‘ladies smock’.