summary:slide index ideas - A Proposition

FRANK HOCZA sdlooker at
Thu Jan 23 07:51:20 EST 1997

On 22 Jan 1997 12:38:10 -0800, jperry at UWC.EDU ("James W. Perry") wrote:

>I'm finishing taking care of my guilt complex over not summarizing responses
>that I received concerning how to organize 35 mm slides. Below is a summary
>of the input I received. Thanks to all of you who responded.
>>Among all the important academic questions, I wonder if anyone would care to
>>share their knowledge of a computerized index for thousands of Kodachrome
>>2x2 slides? Is there a good system that you have developed or purchased? I
>>am getting to the point where I spend way too much time searching for the
>>slide that I just *know* I have but cannot locate. Presently I have them in
>>transparent envelopes (20 per page) and the pages in three ring binders.
>>Diversity (bacteria --> angiosperms), Anatomy (cells --> tissues -->
>>organs), Ecology, Plant Pathology, etc. You'd think that would do it but...
>From: kramer.8 at (David W. Kramer)
>I haven't done this but I would guess that the simplest solution is generic
>spreadsheet/database software like Excel or even those components of a
>Works-type package.  You could design a simple set of "fields" for a data
>entry form that could be input by a student.  You might need to come along
>later and supply the scientific name or some other detail but a student
>could do most of the data entry.  The data base could then be used to
>generate tables, lists, etc.  "Sort" and "Find" routines could be used.
>If you want to get fancy, there is software that can be used to organize a
>digitized collection of images... even to the point of providing thumbnail
>images in the index.
>You can find ads for these in most computer magazines, especially those for
>the graphics folks.
>From: John Clausz <jclausz at>
>You need some data base to keep track of your slides. I am using
>Pro-Cite to keep track of my reprint collection. But this database is
>also capable of characterizing each of thousands of items, such as
>slides, so that you can search the data base to find the item (slide)
>you want. The big problem is to get all the slides into the data base
>the first time. With each slide you'll have a reference number -
>probably to you notebooks containing the slide holders. So when you
>search for a sunflower stem vascular bundle, you are tole to which
>notebook and page to find your slide. I do this with the reprint
>collection and it works nicely. As I said the big problem is getting all
>the data in there the first time. But if you have student workers,
>that's a nice job for someone. Good luck.
>From: Kay Lancaster <klier at>
>I use "Papyrus", a bibliographic data base I purchased for $100, for
>my slides, too.  It's a very adaptable bibliographic system (even
>accepts downloads from some of the mainframe bibliographic systems
>like Silver Platter), and also handles quotes, etc.
>As a taxonomist, most of my slides are of a single species.  So I
>use the binomial in the "author name" field (which is what it
>sorts on most of the time), a short description in the title field,
>and any keywords I want or need in the keywords field (which are
>essentially limitless).  The program assigns a unique identifier
>number to each entry; I use the "make custom bibliography" feature
>to print out labels with the id# and "author" (binomial) to the
>small Avery labels that fit 2x2 slides (I think they're 1/4 x 1 1/2").
>Slides that show multiple species I catalog with the author as
>whatever I intended when I took the photo: e.g. "kettle moraine",
>"Kew: mixed perennial border", etc.
>I file by family then genus and species in bulk slide boxes; if I
>move a slide someplace else semi-permanently (eg to lecture reel #4),
>I note that in the "notes" section.  That's easy to re-edit if I move
>it again.
>When I want to know what slides I have of acorns, for instance, I
>can do a "custom bibliography" of Author = Quercus and keyword = fruit,
>and it prints out a list immediately.  
>For me, it's been very easy to use.
>The papyrus manual is quite good, the writing clear (and funny!),
>and the interface quite simple.
>From: Dave Williams <PROFDHW at>
>Nothing beats a good database application. I use ClarisWorks. It's database
>is nearly full featured and easy as heck to use. It is available in both Mac
>and Windows formats. Nothing beats the flexibility of designing you own
>database file for your slides.
>From: Mary Barkworth <stipoid at>
>I can think of no way round other than cataloging - and I plan to do ours as
>soon as we have the assisstance to help.  Basically, using my favorite
>database program to store the information about each slide (inlcuding
>voucher specimen, if known), then create a barcode label for the slide.  We
>file most by family, but I can see filing some in another manner (we refers
>to the herbarium) at which point a combination of the database and accession
>number looks like the way to go.  We are also lucky enough to have a cabinet
>that allows us to see around 2000 slides, but that is a luxury.  One year
>that the state was rich and the ag expt station thought it would be a good
>idea for us to have slides available.  
>From: "Janice M. Glime" <jmglime at>
>  I store my slides in those grey boxes with sections (not slots) that
>hold about 600 slides.  A particular topic is all in one box, so plant
>taxonomy slides occupy about 10 boxes organized by family, then genus and
>species in alphabetical order.  That way, I can find them, and my
>assistant can file them.  Each slide is labelled with its family and
>scientific name.  Animals are filed by phylum, then order if it is a big
>group, and on down the same as the plants.  Morphology is filed by
>division, then whatever group level I teach, and then genus and species. 
>Within that species, I usually arrange the life cycle in order, but even
>if it gets out of order, at least all of them are together.
>Scenic and habitat slides are arranged by state, then location.  I usually
>remember where I have seen certain habitats, so I can relocate them.  I
>used to color code the top of the slides by season (never needed that
>info), and habitat, but that got to be too time consuming.
>If we all could agree on a common format for the fields I will write a complete database application which will
 include photos of each plant. I will be using Delphi - A Very Powerful multiuser database application which can
 create stand alone applications. You can then search on ANYTHING in the database and call up its picture (photo) .
 We will also be able to put the application on a CD for easy dissemination. As you have mentioned the resource of many
 hands (students - etc) can make the project a reality. And all participants- professors, teachers etc will get a copy of the 
finished program to use in their classes. This can be an ideal use of the internet concept. I can take excel, dbase, access -
just about any format and add the data to the main database. I also will scan in the photos and slides. We could even
 logically apportion groups of plants for each project coordinator and thus minimize duplication of effort.
 I am most interested in medicinal uses of herbs  (all useful plants) and will include a front end identifier which will
 guide the individual by a series of graphical characteristics to the plant to be identified ending with a color photo of 
the plantin question.This is quite ambitious but with the resourse of all interested parties using the internet to coordinate it it is quite do-able.
 If that sound good and you would like to participate please email me and we can start agreeing on a common format.
 I can post the format here and on my website.
Frank E Hocza - 1097 Woodlawn Ave, Chula Vista, Ca. 91911


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