Link multiple observations of same individual over time

This is something that I'd like to do more often, as the opportunity arises. So here's a reminder for myself on how to do it.

  1. After creating the first observation, add "Similar observation set" or "Observation group" as the Observation Field. A box appears--type in (or copy/paste from the URL) the ID number of the first observation.
  2. Repeat this for each observation, using the same ID number for all of them.
  3. To see all observations in the set, click on the field name and select “Observations with this field and value”.
  4. To make it more obvious that each observation is part of a set, copy this URL and add it to the description field of each observation. Include the phrase "observation set" in each description so you can filter your observations that include observation sets by using a URL query to search for that phrase (see below).
  5. Compile your list of observation sets by making a journal post (or include in your profile) so you can go back and find these quickly. If you included the phrase "observation set" in your description of each observation (step 3), you can use this URL to display all of your observations that include observation sets. Like this: [just replace my ID with your ID].

This approach was originally described here and there's a detailed tutorial here.

My linked observations are here:

Life cycles by kimberlietx:

Other folks' life cycle collections:

Posted by pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton, December 14, 2019 22:52


A variation on this is, I'm documenting the communities on individual plants. For example, I have many photos of insects, spiders, lichens, etc. on an ash tree in my back yard, taken over the last 4 years. Would it mess up your use of this Observation Field if I used it for my own purpose, with the ID# of the ash tree for each observation?

Posted by caththalictroides over 2 years ago (Flag)

Someone else created the field, but it's my understanding that it's to be used for connecting any observations for any reason. Here's the tutorial written by the creator:

Posted by pfau_tarleton over 2 years ago (Flag)

Another relevant, existing, field is "Observation Group". Same thing, just a different name. You can choose whichever one sounds best to you.

Posted by pfau_tarleton over 2 years ago (Flag)

@catherineklatt, once you have some observation sets, you should create a journal post and compile links to them there (like I did above). It makes it much easier to go back and find them later.

Posted by pfau_tarleton over 2 years ago (Flag)

Woohoo this is such a neat, straightforward resource, thank you for including my precious bottlecats!

Posted by franzanth over 2 years ago (Flag)
Posted by pfau_tarleton over 2 years ago (Flag)

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