RLR Image Library (Dan E.)

Hello all. I’ve created an image library here at RLR. I think its a good idea and I’m hoping that you do too. If we accumulate a collection of good images, mostly photos I assume, it will become useful and interesting.

The idea is that we can post image galleries – collections of photos of or about a particular project/trip/experiment/event – to share with the lab. I hope this sharing will be informative and entertaining but also practical – we can share images for use in presentations and posters and the like.

Right off the bat I want it to be clear that if you use any image from RLR that you did not create yourself, that image must be attributed to its creator. Its easy, just give the person who made and uploaded the image a credit on or near the image in your presentation or poster etc.. Pretty obvious really.

The image library comprises galleries displayed on new pages added to RLR under the “Image Library” page. If you wish, these pages can be hidden such that only registered users who have logged in can see your images.

Check out Brook’s opening effort for an excellent example of what I’m talking about.

Greg O. has also put up some nice shots of Californian sunflowers.

I’ve added instructions on the “How to: contribute content” page and on the “How to: use RLR” page.

If my instructions are insufficient, or you can see obvious problems or improvements, please let me know.

Answers to some questions that you may have . . .

Q1 – Should I edit my collection of images before uploading them?

A1 – I can’t say this strongly enough – Yes! A curated collection of images can be a wonderful thing. An unedited dump of your camera’s memory is almost certainly an abhorrent pile of duplication and aesthetic failure. Delete the garbage, select out the duplication and find the informative and/or beautiful. Put that up at RLR and you will be a star.

Q2 – Should I resize image files before uploading them?

A2 – Probably. Most of your images are probably not works of art and will not ever be viewed or printed at a size/resolution where some compression will matter. Most of your images should, therefore, be compressed and resized to get the file size down so that uploading/downloading and storage are not unnecessarily compromised. If you do have a few gems then feel free to upload them as big, high quality, files.

Q3 – How should I resize image files before uploading?

A3.1 – Use a photo management application. There are lots of image management applications, virtually all of which have easy ways to produce resized and compressed copies of images. Most will process batches of files too, look around. In iPhoto, for example, you can select multiple images then export them. At the prompt you can select .jpg, quality medium, size medium. That will make your files much smaller without ruining your images.

A3.2 – Use the resizing option that is built in to the gallery uploading functionality of RLR. If you upload multiple, unzipped, image files using the Dashboard->Gallery->Add Gallery features you can do the file resizing as you upload. I strongly recommend you do this if you haven’t previously made your image files smaller. This automatic resizing at upload is actually quite mild – the files will not be reduced drastically and the size and quality of the images will be (i), quite big and (ii), pretty good. {If you still find the upload too slow due to file size you might want to manually resize your images, see above, or make a zip file and upload that.}

Q4 – Should I annotate my images?

A4 – Yes, yes you should. An image of a sunflower plant is no good to anyone if we don’t know what species it is. If your image is predominantly of a plant you should have the species in the title, the description or a tag. If your image is from a collecting trip you should tell where it was taken. If your image is of an experiment you should tell us what that experiment was. You can add and change titles, descriptions and tags from within RLR at Dashboard->Gallery->Manage gallery. Note that you don’t have to annotate individual images if you can convey the same information by annotating the gallery or by providing text on the page displaying it. In many cases all of the images in a gallery will be of the same species, for example, and this information can be provided in the gallery description or in text on the page displaying it. Note also that annotation done by a photo management application may upload to RLR with the image files. Titles and descriptions annotated in iPhoto, for example, do upload with the images.

Q5 – How do I share images with just the Rieseberg Lab?

A5 – Check the “Restrict Page” box for your gallery’s page. RLR is visible to anybody with the url. If you want to restrict the visibility of a gallery of images to just registered users who have logged in to RLR with a username and password then you need to check the “Restrict Page” box that is at the bottom of the page editing window when you make or edit the page that displays your gallery – go to RLR Dashboard->Pages and then click on your page, scroll down and check the “Restrict Page” box. {Note that you might, very reasonably, think that you should publish the page displaying your gallery privately if you want to limit access to core Rieseberg lab personnel. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work – you have to use the “Restrict Page” feature as described above.}

Q6 – Do all photos or galleries have to be posted in the Image Library?

A6 – No! Feel free to post galleries as normal posts to RLR and to include images in your posts. However, please consider using the Image Library if you want to share any of your images. One thing to consider when posting about experiments or trips etc. where you have a nice collection of images to contribute is creating a gallery in the Image Library but also making a normal post that includes a selection of the images. That way casual browsers of RLR will be alerted to your new gallery at the Image Library via your post.

Q7 – How do I find more information about an image in the library?

A7 – Go to RLR Dashboard->Gallery->Manage Gallery and click on the gallery in question. If the person who uploaded the image you are interested in provided any description or tags that information will be visible here.

Q8 – How do I download an image from the RLR Image Library?

A8 – Right click and Save As. Go to the page displaying the gallery that the image belongs to and click the thumbnail, then right click the image and select “Save Image As” (or equivalent), give it a name and proceed.

Q9 – How do I get a high quality large version of an image from the RLR Image Library?

A9 – Ask the creator of the image for a high quality large copy. Most of the images in the image library will be reduced in size and compressed in some way. This should be fine for viewing on a screen for most purposes, however, if you need to zoom, enlarge or print an image and it looks pixelated, blocky or just crappy you probably need a bigger, better quality image file. Just ask for it.