Monarch Watch Tagging Data Entry – volunteers wanted
We’re partnering with Monarch Watch as part of our Monarch Campaign. This past week they put out a request for help in doing data entry for their Monarch tag data. Here’s the note below in case you can help:
Greetings Monarch Watchers!
We are finally moving forward with our monarch tagging database project and we need some help! 🙂
As most of you know, citizen scientists just like you have been tagging monarch butterflies through Monarch Watch since 1992. In all, more than ONE MILLION monarchs have been tagged with Monarch Watch tags over the years – representing a HUGE volunteer effort. Most of these tagging records have been returned to us in the form of paper datasheets, organized by students into binders, and relocated when a tagged monarch is reported to us – thus allowing us to complete the tag record and add it to our online tag recovery database (currently more than 16,000 records).
This system has its inefficiencies and limitations but given funding constraints this was the only workable solution for many years. The really big downside to this storage method is that it does not give us easy access to the majority of the data set – those records that include date, location, and other data for more than one million monarch butterflies. An infinite number of analyses could be done using this massive data set and we are determined to whip it into shape and have it available very soon. In the process, the online recovery database (http://monarchwatch.org/recoveries) will get an overhaul as well.
We now have a firm plan in place to renovate our existing databases, clean up the data, and add records to make the set as complete as possible. We already have about 975,000 tagging records in an electronic database and estimate that we have an additional 300,000 records that still need to be entered in order to complete the set – data from the 1992-1999 tagging seasons as well as sheets that are still coming in for this season (monarchs tagged last fall).
This is where we need some help.
Ann has just hired one data entry student and may be able to hire one more, but we would also like to open this up to any Monarch Watcher out there that would like to assist us – either in person (Lawrence,
KS) or by working remotely at home. This data entry will involve taking the hard copy datasheets (or digital versions of them) and typing the information into a spreadsheet (using Excel, etc.). If you are not familiar with our datasheets, you can check them out via http://monarchwatch.org/tagging – including a spreadsheet format that will be used for this data entry project. As you can see, for any given datasheet there will be a lot of duplicate (date, location) or sequential (tag codes) data, so there are some shortcuts that can be used to make data entry go faster (copy/paste, fill down, etc.) – we will provide you with all the information you need to speed things along.
If you can help us in person, we will provide everything you need; if you would like to work remotely, you will need a computer, spreadsheet software (Microsoft’s Excel, Apple’s Numbers, Apache OpenOffice’s Calc, etc.), and internet access – we will send you a set of scanned datasheets and the spreadsheet template. Beyond that, all we ask is that you return the completed data to us in a timely manner, follow the simple instructions we will provide, and be very focused when entering the data to reduce the number of keying errors
The amount of time that you spend volunteering will be up to you – we will send you a small number of sheets initially so that you can get a feel for the data entry and how long it takes. When you submit your data you may request additional sheets if you’d like to continue.
If you would like to assist us in this endeavor, please respond to this message expressing your interest and we will get back to all potential volunteers as soon as possible with additional details.
We’re excited to be forging ahead with this – thank you for your help and continued support!
Jim, Chip, & Ann
About Monarch Watch
Monarch Watch (http://monarchwatch.org) is a nonprofit education, conservation, and research organization based at the University of Kansas that focuses on the monarch butterfly, its habitat, and its spectacular migration.
If you have any questions about this email or any of our programs please feel free to contact us anytime.
Thank you for your continued interest and support!