Entomology Instructions

Thank you for being a digital volunteer! It’s very important that this work is performed in a standardized manner, so please make the effort to read and follow these instructions.


Our Process



How the process works



We seek to balance quality and speed with our transcription process - which, of course, is still evolving as we continue to develop this service. At the moment, this is how our system works:



1) Anyone can start transcribing or add to a transcription of a document.

2) Once a volunteer decides they’ve “finished” and they’re ready for review, a different volunteer (who must have an account on the site) can review the transcription and either send it back for edits, or complete the transcription.

3) The finished transcript is sent to the Smithsonian, where it may be used immediately, or undergo additional work.

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Navigating the Entomology Transcription Page



To navigate the Entomology transcription page, please use the blue tabs/arrows near the top of the main box, which have the labels “Collector Details,” “Locality Details,” and “Specimen Details.” Be sure to type in or select all the information you can for the fields in each section before you click the button at the bottom that reads “Complete and Mark for Review.”









Watch this video for more tips on Navigating the Bumblebee Project:










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Reading Labels




Entomology labels can come in all shapes and sizes. Since each collector creates their labels independently, some of the information you need may be found on different labels or on different locations on a label. These are some examples of what our insect labels may look like. Each photo will have at least two labels. One will contain a barcode with the USNMENT number (represented with a red D) and the other will be a locality label (represented with a blue A) containing collection data that may include collection dates, collector names and locality information. There may also be other labels that have additional information such as the collection name and/or number (represented with a green B), type status (represented with a purple C), etc. It is very important that all information on these labels be recorded somewhere in the template and in separate fields. The instructions below will help you enter the correct information in designated fields.


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Collector Details


This project includes digitized specimen labels of bumble bees, gathered from various regions, countries, and field locations. To find Collector Details, start by looking at the locality label. The locality label is the label that contains information on where the insect was collected, which will usually include the date collected and the collector.








Collector(s) (in blue)








These are the people involved in collecting the specimens. The collector is usually the only name found on the locality label. Please write them in using a [last name], [first name or initials] format (without the brackets); please include a space between intials. In the image to the far right, the collector would be transcribed like this: Dudgeon, G. C. Click the “Add collector(s)” link to add another text field to include additional collectors. Please list the collectors in the order on the label. If missing, write [Not Stated].






Verbatim Date (in red)






Please write the date or date range EXACTLY as it is written on the label. The format of this field is flexible and you can use this guiding principle: "Bee Literal" as in transcribe what you see. For example, this date field could contain “Fall 1948”, “2-X-1948” or “October 1948” - type as presented on the label. In the example to the right, the verbatim date would be transcribed as: 21 Feb - 10 Mar 1999 If no collection date is available, please type [Not Stated] in this field.



Collection Date (To/From)



Enter the dates in the following format: MMM DD YYYY. If only one date is given, enter the same date in both the “to” and the “from” field. Please note: some labels may be written using Roman numerals in place of the month. For example, 2-X-1948 or X.2.48 should be entered: Oct 02 1948. In the image to the right, the Collection Date (From) would be transcribed like this: Feb 21 1999. The Collection Date (To) would be transcribed as: Mar 10 1999. If the label date given was Fall 1948, only transcribe "1948" in the year field.


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Locality Details






Understanding where a bumble bee was collected is very important for conservation and distribution research. Scientists use this information to determine the ways populations develop and the impact of bees in local ecosystems around the world. To help you clarify locations, you can use http://www.geonames.org/ - it can help you determine the current state/territory place name from which specimens were collected. You can also "Google" or use a search engine to confirm locations - this is something scientists and entomologists do as well!










Using Geonames











Verbatim Locality


The full locality information on the label should be entered exactly as it appears on the label. Please do NOT add any translated or current names to this field. In the image to the right, the verbatim locality would be transcribed as: Guyana: Region 9 Kanuku Mtns., Nappi Creek If missing, please write [Not Stated].


The country where the specimens were collected. Please enter the valid (current) country name in this field. Remember: You may have to look up this information, using http://www.geonames.org/ or a search engine using label and collector context. Enter the currently accepted name for the country; in this case: Guyana If missing, please write [Not Stated].

State / Territory

The second level of geographic division inside country where the specimens were collected. Use currently accepted name for the Province / State / Territory. If missing, please write [Not Stated].

District / County

The local political division within a State, Province or territory. No need to transcribe "County" or "Co." as that field will automatically generate as the Department of Entomology exports the data. If missing, please write [Not Stated].

Precise Locality

Any detailed information about where the specimens were collected that goes beyond country/state/district/lat-long. This may be the distance from a landmark, a state park, a mountain, proximity to a river, etc. If missing, please write [Not Stated].

Latitude + Longitude

If indicated on the label, record the exact latitude of where the specimens were collected. If in decimal format, type into the first (degrees) field. If missing, leave blank.

Elevation (from) & Elevation (to)

The numerical value of the elevation at which the specimens were collected, without the unit. If there is one elevation, enter this in both of the Elevation fields. If there is a range, such as 400-600 m, put Elevation From = “400” and Elevation To = “600”. If missing, leave blank.

Elevation Unit

The unit of measurement for the previously stated elevation range, either in feet or meters. If there is no information, please leave this field set to null.


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Specimen Details


There are often further details about the collection of specimens. Please help us capture these details.










Barcode/USNMENT Number

Every bumblebee will have a unique identifier called barcode or USNMENT Number. It will always be found on a small white label in the bottom right hand corner of the photograph. Please enter this number in the following format: USNMENT########.











Other Number(s) (in blue)


Please enter any other numbers and their identifiers (which may come before or after the number) found on the label. This may include a collection number or a preparation number. Please DO include a comma in the number if present, e.g. 10,004 should be transcribed as 10,004. If you are unsure, it usually best to err on the side of including more information. One exception: no need to transcribe "No." as that field will automatically generate as the Department of Entomology exports the data.


Label Notes (in red)


Some labels may contain information that does not fit into a designated field. This may include the original collection name, a host plant, or a description of the insect. If the information is found on separate labels, please enter the information in separate boxes by selecting “add label note”. Please "Add Label Note" and enter the text description of the sex of bee, if it is listed on the label. Write Male, Female or [Not Stated].

Please use this field in the following cases:

  • The label is illegible (simply type “Illegible”)
  • You do not know where to place the information
  • The entire label verbatim, if written in a language that you are not familiar
  • You are not sure what the information is about
  • The information given does not have a designated field



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    Additional Information on Page

    Enter any additional critical notes about each particular image in the “Notes on Transcribing this page (optional)” field.

    Start Transcribing Now!

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