Image Data Entry Help Topics

Image Data

The top of the Edit Image Data form provides an overview of administrative information associated with your image; i. e., it lists the file name and the ID number of the image in the ToL database, and it keeps track of who contributed the image and who last edited the image data.

Click on the View/upload/delete versions of this image link to get an overview of the different versions that are available for your image in the ToL database. You can use this interface to upload a new master image, which will replace the original version. You can also constrain the maximum size at which the image is displayed on the ToL web site, and you can upload scaled versions of your master image if you are not satisfied with the quality of our autogenerated scaled versions.

Copyright Owner

As a general rule, the creator of an image owns the copyright and has the exclusive right of distribution. You don't have to register your work with any authority or agency in order to have it protected by copyright law.

The copyright of the creator may be limited if the material in question was created as a 'work made for hire', or if the copyright has previously been relinquished to a publisher.

When you upload a new image to the ToL database, you will be listed as the copyright owner by default. If you upload an image for which you do not own the copyright, you need to select another option in the Copyright Information section:

Enter the four-digit year for the copyright date. You are not required to provide a copyright date, but it's part of a proper copyright notice. Generally, it's good to use the date of creation or the date of first publication as the copyright date.

Use Permitted by Copyright Owner

When you contribute an image to the ToL project, we ask you to give us a license specifying how the picture can be used. In order to meet the needs of a diverse community of contributors, we provide a variety of different options regarding the publication and potential reuse of your image.

In the Edit Image Data form, you can click on the text next to a radio button to get a detailed explanation of each option.

You can change the default license applied to your future media contributions by checking the Remember this option for my future contributions box.

Note that the Use Permitted by Copyright Owner section is active only for works protected by copyright. If you have selected No copyright owner above, the public domain option is selected automatically.

Other Credits

Attached to Group(s)

When you click on the Add a Group from the ToL Database link, you will be able to search for the names of groups in the ToL database. Please attach your image to that group in the Tree of Life to which it is most relevant.

If you have an image of a specimen of a certain species and that species is represented in the ToL database, you should attach it to this species. If the species is not yet represented in the ToL database, you should attach your image to the group that is closest to the species, e.g., the genus or the family that the species belongs to. If your image is relevant to more than one group (e. g., if it shows specimens of two different species), you can attach it to each of these groups.

Attaching the images in the ToL database to groups in the tree will allow people to find images based on phylogenetic criteria. For example, when you attach a picture of a platypus to the Ornithorhynchus anatinus group, people will find this picture not only if they search for platypus pictures, but also if they search for pictures of Monotremata, mammals, vertebrates, animals etc.

Image Content

Select one or more features that describe the content of your image. Categorizing the content of your image will help people find ToL images based on certain criteria.

Filling out the Image Content section is entirely voluntary. If you go through the trouble to provide this information, our image database will get better organized, and it will be easier for ToL visitors and page authors to find the illustrations they are most interested in. For example, somebody looking for a nice picture of a beetle, would probably want to look only at pictures that have the Specimen(s) option selected. If you have a picture that's particularly suitable to illustrate a particular subject within biology, you can open the Subject/Keywords section below and select relevant subjects.

Place and Time

Specimen Information

If your image shows a specimen of an organism, providing some information about the specimen will make your image a more valuable resource.

Specimen Documentation

This section contains fields that are generally relevant only for taxonomists.


Here you can enter any information about your image that you think may be of interest but that is not covered in any of the other fields in this form. For example, you can provide the common name of the organism or point out certain features in the image.

Alternative Text

Enter a brief description that can take the place of your image if somebody looks at a web page using a browser that does not display images.

Image Type

Editing Privileges

By default only the image contributor, the copyright owner (if a registered ToL contributor), and ToL editors in charge of image administration have editing privileges for the data associated with a given image. You can use this list to provide editing privileges to other ToL contributors, e.g., your co-authors for ToL pages or people who collaborate with you in the identification of the organisms in your images.

Image Notes

The Notes field should be used for internal ToL communication about your image. You can use this field to leave reminders for yourself or messages to ToL editors. Also, other ToL contributors will have access to this field and can leave messages for you about your image (not yet implemented). For example, somebody may let you know if they think an organism is misidentified or they may be able to provide additional information that is not included in your original image data. After reviewing the information provided by other contributors, you can decide whether you want to use it to revise your image data.

The content of this field is not printed on the ToL web site along with other image data. Also, the general ToL Image Search ignores the Notes text. However, when you do a search across all image data fields in the ToL Media Manager, the text of the Notes field will be included.

Image Versions Help

When you upload an image to the ToL database, we will automatically generate several, scaled versions of your image for use in different ToL contexts; for example:

In order to preserve image quality, images are only scaled down, never enlarged. This means that the uploaded Master image (by default, the largest version you upload) provides an upper limit for the available image dimensions. Our image processing software generally gives very good results when shrinking images. You can check what your image will look like at different, autogenerated dimensions by clicking on the view links in the Versions for Image list. Also, you have the option to upload additional, manually edited versions of your image, which will then be used instead of the autogenerated versions.

If you do not want to release your Master image for display on the ToL site, you can select another version of the image in the MaxSize column. We will then use your Master image only for the creation of display versions not exceeding the size of the MaxSize version. This allows contributors to provide high quality images to the ToL for processing without making the original available to the public. Note that the master image will be accessible to any ToL editor and contributor who has editing privileges for this form.