This page has been superseded and is now JUNK history

This page tells you how to download and update the flashcards discussed here.

Download the fish Species ID flashcards

Assuming that you have already installed Anki flashcard software onto your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer, then you can (later) download a Anki Package file (with file extension .apkg) for the fish species & substrate types deck that barefootconservationist.org asked us to learn _from the Anki website at this location_CCCCCC. This particular package only includes photos that I am sure have been licensed for public use. But for the time being, this Anki Package .apkg file is attached to this page - you can download it by clicking the Files button below.

Update the fish Species ID flashcards using the source spreadsheet

If you want to add species and/or photos to this deck, I suggest you do so by downloading and then modifying the spreadsheet attached to this page (click on the Files button below), and then exporting from it to Anki (which is very easy and very fast). Anki is brilliant at flashcards, but I have yet to be as happy with its Browse function; by contrast Microsoft Excel or LibreOffice Calc are familiar tools for manipulating a one-table database. Especially if you are adding species in taxonomic order, you can save a lot of typing of Genus and higher taxa in the spreadsheet by dragging the fill handle (click then drag the lower right corner of a cell that has the text you want to copy to multiple adjacent cells).

Comments on how to use the spreadsheet

General Comments and Licensing Details

Below are comments that appear in the spreadsheet and the Anki deck:

  • Description (entered into the Anki deck's Options/Description): These flashcards will help teach you to identify fish species in the wild. Underwater with limited time and air, your main species identification tool will be your brain, so we need to train it. Efficiently. Hence these flashcards. They show random photos of a fish (up to six different photos per species) and challenge you to name the species; to strengthen your memory they also ask you to recall what a species looks like when challenged with a random species Common Name. Each species card has links to Wikipedia, fishbase.de, and possibly fishesofaustralia.net.au, so looking up details of a species or its Genus or Family etc is just a finger-tap away. This opens up an interesting world, and adds meaning to all the pretty shapes swimming around you. I hope you enjoy learning them! <br> If you want to update this deck, or you want tips on making a similar deck, you can download this deck's source spreadsheet from wikisift.org.
  • Notes signed by "- JFB" (i.e. me, John F Brady, who assembled these flashcards) are not authoritative - they are merely comments I found useful to help me understand which features of the fish are important to distinguish it from similar species. I look forward to real experts correcting them.
  • Overview: If you do a volunteer diving trip with barefootconservation.org in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, they ask you to learn identify 200+ species of fish and corals etc, so I created this Anki flashcard deck based on the .pdf lists they gave me. The cards for a specific species use the en.Wikipedia photo for that species, and have links to Wikipedia for that species, its genus, and one or sometimes two of its higher taxa. (A 'taxon' is a species, genus, family, order, subclass, etc; the plural of 'taxon' is 'taxa'). I use the Common Name used by Barefoot Conservation; if you click on the common name it takes you to the Fishbase entry for that species, and you can follow Fishbase's link to other Common Names used in different countries and languages. As well, there are corresponding Google Images links (searching on the taxon's scientific name) and Fishbase thumbnails, so that you can get a variety of other photos. Of course for Google there are no guarantees as to the accuracy of those search results, but many of the Fishbase photos are carefully curated.
  • LICENSING DETAILS for photos: Many photos I have used are licensed as CC By-SA, which requires identifying the source and licence requirements of each such photo; hence I have provided the fields for '... licence notes', '... licence URL', and '... licence link text'. Note that CC-By-SA photos do not violate the Anki Shared Deck Licence requirements, and conform with the Anki option of providing users with further rights - indeed it would breach the original CC licence to use the photo without informing the user of the original CC licence.
  • Source of the photos: The Pic2 series photos are downloaded from the Wikipedia photo used as the reference for each species. I have met their CC By-SA licence requirements by explaining how to source them and see the licence (some are Public Domain instead of CC By-SA). For Pics 3 - 6, I give the URL source which also provides any necessary licensing information. Sources of permissible photos include: specifying 'not filtered by licence' in a Google Image advanced search; googling ("some rights" OR "creative commons") "Chaetodon baronessa"; and searching fishbase.de, fishesofaustralia.net.au, www.ala.org.au, and lifg.australianmuseum.net.au. I have re-named all photos to make it easier to resize them and replace them etc while using Anki. The Pic1 series photos are from .PDFs emailed to me sourced from Barefoot Conservationist; I am not sure if BC can arrange permissions for those photos to be uploaded onto the Anki website for public use, so I have left them out of the publicly available flashcards.
  • Notes on the spreadsheet used to prepare the Fish Species ID Anki deck: You could add photos and species directly to the Anki Deck without using its source spreadsheet, but if you are adding more than about 10 species you will probably find it easier to update the spreadsheet and then use that to generate a new Anki deck. In fact, if you have any familiarity with Microsoft Excel (or Calc, Excel's free LibreOffice equivalent), you may find the process easier using the spreadsheet - regenerating a deck from the spreadsheet can take less than a minute. See notes at wikisift.org on how do this export & import and other Anki tricks, along with a copy of this spreadsheet and notes on its structure. If you improve it, please upload your new version back to wikiSift.
  • LICENSING DETAILS for the spreadsheet used to create the Fish Species ID Anki deck: <br>This spreadsheet is licenced under the CC By-SA viewable at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ , with attribution satisfied by specifying John Brady at wikisift.org. Cheers, John Brady, August 2018

Details of how to use the spreadsheet

Below are comments do not appear in the spreadsheet or the deck. They are useful if you want to understand techniques for extracting text and photos from .pdf files, pre-naming photos for use in Anki decks with meaningful names, and copying cells from a spreadsheet into a text file that can then be easily imported into Anki.

Data preparation

  • How to prepare the data for this spreadsheet: To extract text from the Barefoot Conservation .pdf files I used SumatraPDF reader, then cleaned it up in Windows Notepad.
  • How to prepare the .jpg photo files: Anki has all its photos for all its decks stored in the one combined Collection Folder, so it helps to have consistent filenames that allow you to find photos for your fish deck amongst all your other decks - doing so assists backups, batch-resizing, and corrections). So each Fish Species ID photo starts with SPID_ ('Species ID') and almost ends with _LKJH (a nonsense string that is hopefully unique). (Scientific binomial names for species are unique for almost all practical intents and purposes, and certainly are unique within Animalia.) Column B of the spreadsheet generates photo filenames such as SPID_Chaetodon_baronessa_LKJH_, which makes it easy to save photos as, e.g., SPID_Chaetodon_baronessa_LKJH_3.jpg. (E.g.: copy SPID_Chaetodon_baronessa_LKJH_ into your clipboard with a Ctrl+C; right-click the photo you want to save and click Save As; into the filename field paste your clipboard with a Ctrl+V and type '3' and then hit Enter (which will usually save it as .jpg; if not use Irfanview as described below).
    • To manually extract photos from .pdf files I found it most convenient to open the .pdf files in LibreOffice Draw, and save them by right-clicking on each photo.
    • To get photos from Wikipedia and Google Images etc I simply saved them by right-clicking. If in doubt re resolution, I chose a larger version; I later used Irfanview (very nice freeware) in a batch run resize any .jpg. .png, or .gif to a .jpg with a largest dimension of 400 pixels or less.
    • An Irfanview batch conversion defaults to saving as .jpg, which was a convenient way of dealing with various .png and .gif files - I specified .jpg filenames in the spreadsheet, and the Irfanview batch run made this true without me having to convert .PNGs and .GIFs when individually downloading them.
    • You can move the photos into Anki's Collection Folder before or after you have imported the spreadsheet details into the deck. Importing using my spreadsheet means the filenames are chosen at import time; if the actual file is not in the Collections Folder then a placeholder will appear on the flashcard.

How to export from the spreadsheet into Anki

Sooner or later (in my case it took ~20 years) you will heed the comments that once you start using Notepad++ you will wonder why you ever bothered using Windows Notepad. So yes, yet another software installation, but I promise you will like it. (You might be able to get by with Windows Notepad, but I do not know, and having seen the light of Notepad++ I do not care.)
What does work is you simply select the relevant cells from the spreadsheet, copy & paste them into a new (empty) Notepad++ text file, save this text file, and then import the text file into Anki. Simple.
Which are the relevant cells to copy from the spreadsheet? Well, cell E1 (at the top of the yellow column) is labelled Only copy cells to the right of this row (and starting from Row 3 downwards) into a .txt file for Importing into Anki, and cell L2 is labelled USED TO GENERATE LINES BELOW (do not import this row or any rows above it). Currently rows 3 to 10 are Comments, and the only way I know to avoid having them appear as a user's first flashcards is to only import them after I have imported all the species etc flashcards that the user wants to see. Hence, first I import F11..BD223, then I import the comment rows F3..BD223. Currently, Column BD is the Tags column, which Anki requires be the last column imported.
How to import from a text file into Anki:

  • When importing into Anki, ensure it has 'Fields separated by: Tab', and tick 'Allow HTML in fields' so that filenames are treated correctly. Simple. Just make sure you have the correct deck selected before you start the Import.
  • You might avoid UTF-8 encoding issues by ensuring quotation marks have not been Replaced or AutoCorrected in the spreadsheet with left & right pairs, but I solved UTF-8 error msgs from the Anki importer by copying the required spreadsheet cells into Notepad++ (open source freeware) and in Notepad++ setting Encoding to 'Encode in UTF-8'. I found that a non-ASCII right-quote somehow reduced the number of fields that Anki could see, causing such records to not be imported, so I had to replace some left & right quotes with vertical ASCII quotes (zoom in to see the difference). Ankiweb suggests using the free LibreOffice Calc spreadsheet, but that is what I used, and I still had trouble until I replaced all left & right quotes with vertical ASCII quotes.
  • I have not attempted to use Excel, but I have confined myself to the 2003 .xls filetype and simple IF statements etc, so it is _likely_ that Excel will work fine.

Notes on the columns used in the spreadsheet:

  • The 'Tags' column (the right-most column) is generated from column D only because it is easier to see on the LHS of the spreadsheet. Tags are not a specified field. The way that Anki works is that if you have one extra column after all the columns that match the fields you have told Anki about, then Anki treats that extra column as a Tab. Hey, it works.
  • The 'Source ID' field: 'Source ID' values are based on the Barefoot Conservationist .pdf files I was given - the 'B' series numbers each photo in the 2016 BC Butterfly .pdf, 'H' series: Herbivores & Omnivores, 'C': the Carnivores, 'P': Pelagic, 'S': Sub Strata; the '~' series records these Comments. Binomial Genus-Species names uniquely identifies every species known (except for 5 species that have common binomial names across different Kingdoms); for records that are not uniquely identified by being a species, the Source ID provides a unique identifier.
  • The 'Record ID' field: I originally used the 'Source ID' values to create a unique sorted identifier for each record in the Anki program, but Anki seemed to be doing weird things with the sort order, sorting on only the numbers within an alphanumeric field??! So I figured 'serve me right' for attempting to use meaningful data as a record identifier, and created a separate integer 'Record ID' field for Anki to sort on. I have high-numbered the Comments (I do not want to scare a new user with a Comment posing as a flashcard), but not so high that Anki is tempted to create a massively sparse database; I have left the comment rows at the start of the spreadsheet, but I import them from a separate temporary .txt file after I have imported all the taxa (e.g. species) rows.
  • The 'Species' field: <br>Leave this field blank if not known - do not enter 'sp.' or 'spp.' etc, otherwise links to web pages will fail.
  • The 'Show...' fields: <br>Anki has only primitive 'IF' commands that create a card / show a group of fields or an alternative depending on whether various fields are non-blank or empty. I have avoided indicating non-blank with a 'Y', because the usual opposite of 'Y' is 'N' (and 'N' is non-blank which thus has the same effect as 'Y'); instead I have used 'X' for non-blanks. Because I have not been able to confirm that the photos that BC provided have appropriate permissions, I left the 'Show these pic 1s' field blank. I use a further IF command for the 'Show these pic 2s' column so as to not attempt a Wikipedia lookup for if the exact species is not known.
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