cyanocorax PRO 6:15pm, 8 December 2008
For an overview, see List of acceptable machine tags.

For EOL you only have to have one tag that identifies the organism that is the subject of the photo. If you know the scientific name of the species, the best tag to use is:

"taxonomy:binomial=Blah blah"

But you can add as many tags as you want to give more information about the organism's classification. Also, you don't need quotation marks if your tag doesn't have any spaces in it.

The best way to add a tag is to click on "Add a tag" on the right of the image and type it in directly (without cutting and pasting). You can also add the tags as you upload the images, but you can still add or delete them at any time. On Flickr you can add a bunch of tags separated by spaces and Flickr will separate them for you. That's why if your tag itself has a space in it, you'll need to use quotation marks to keep the words all together.

Machine tags are just special tags that start with code words a computer can understand and have an = in them somewhere. You type them in just like any other tag.
cyanocorax PRO 8 years ago
If you would like other people to help with your tagging, you can set your preferences to allow others to add tags. Go to your default privacy settings and you can change the default to let Any Flickr User help.

That way even if they aren't a member of the EOL group, other people can help identify your images. I've never encountered a problem and I've had this setting for a couple years.
Lip Kee PRO 8 years ago
Maybe you can answer a question as to why we should bother with machine tag in the first place. It is a great hassle and I would consider converting my tag to machine tags only if there is a definite need for them (machine tags).

The only clue I have is this comment
"The Encyclopedia of Life will periodically check this Flickr group for any new or modified images. A computer program will find the images which meet the above criteria and add them to the appropriate EOL species page. "

Checking I have an idea how it works. However, I would like an explanation as to why it has to be machine tags and not normal tags before embarking on quite a lot of work.
Hello, I am Bruce [deleted] 8 years ago
Lip Kee,

Here are two photos tagged with a plant genus name

One is a useful illustration of the genus in question. It would be a suitable inclusion to a reference work. It would be appropriate to tag it with a "taxonomy:genus=..." tag. Then searches would know that it really refers to the genus in question.

But without machine tags, there is no automatic way to distinguish which of the two pictures it is.

That is why machine tags are useful.

(I agree that it is a pain to copy and paste the entries. I recommend that you tag with bi-/trinomial names for now and wait for an automated tool that will add the other tags.)
Lip Kee PRO 8 years ago
I suppose this is valid for general searches. However, the presumption is that photos posted on EOL Images (the Flickr site) should already be specific and should be retrievable on normal tags.

Nevertheless I will put in the minimum you suggested bi and where available tri-nomial names.
tim_gleason 8 years ago
I put up a "test" photo and attempted to tag it:

If anyone has the energy to look it over and verify it meets the requirements to get into EOL, I'd appreciate it. I put in the binomial name, common name and genus.

Also, any idea how long it will take to make it to the EOL? Right now there is no pic for this species.

mgjefferies PRO 8 years ago
I have looked at it and commented. I would imagine there are many hundreds of thousands of species not on EOL!
A.Poulos (Iya) 8 years ago
tags on your photo look fine to me, tim.
According to the recent EOL newsletter, the pictures here at flickr will be transferred to the site in 2009.
peetucket 8 years ago
Indeed - the Flickr photos will show up in the "unauthenticated" mode of EOL very early in the new year.

- Pete at EOL
tim_gleason 8 years ago
Thanks for checking!

I probably have a good handful of other photos I can upload. I was kinda waiting to see if it works before I spend too much time :)

I didn't know there was an "unauthenticated" mode. I just checked the site and, under settings, there is an "All information" option. I assume that is "unauthenticated mode"(?)

Is there a process for photos to get "authenticated"? Or will these photos only ever show up in "unauthentucated" mode?

Sorry for all the questions: I am just curious ;)

peetucket 8 years ago
Indeed the "unauthenticated" mode where the Flickr photos show up is part of the new upcoming release and isn't on the current site -- but it's coming soon (I am looking at the code in development on the test server as we speak...). There is a curation process for the photos to become authenticated - you can read up on the proposed plan here:
Drew Avery PRO 8 years ago
I have just joined today and uploaded some photo's. Please take a look at the Giraffe photo and see if the tags are right.
snake09j 8 years ago
crap i joined today and copied the giraffe guy
Drew Avery PRO 8 years ago
Sorry Dude! Cool pic's though
Aquila-chrysaetos Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Aquila-chrysaetos (member) 7 years ago
Is it OK to just have the scientific names in the description instead of a tag? That's how I have been doing it for a while, and the though of tagging all 2,000+ of my photos seems pretty daunting. Also, if I have my settings set so others can add the tags need, is it OK to add my photo? I really do understand the need for scientific accuracy, there is a ton of mis-identified photos on flickr, and I really don't want to add to the problem.
A.Poulos (Iya) 7 years ago
Fool-On-The-Hill: Well in order for it to go to EOL they need machine tags, but it is good you posted here so others are aware they should help make the scientific names you already provided into machine tags.
Aquila-chrysaetos 7 years ago
So would this be a "machine" tag: "taxonomy:binomial=Canis lupus" ?
mgjefferies PRO 7 years ago
Yes, though you don't need the " around the taxonomy:binomial= part; around the Canis lupus will do. The crucial bit is that words and spaces MUST be enclosed in " "

It may help to keep a text file of frequently used tags so that you only have to type the names that change not the machine tags; and then cut and paste!
Tuấn Anh Lâm Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Tuấn Anh Lâm (member) 7 years ago
I would like to contribute some images for EOL but I do not know the binomial name of this species.

Agamid Lizard by recwar2004 | Viet Nam by Tuấn Anh Lâm

Could you help me, please ? You can add tags directly in my upload.
cyanocorax PRO 7 years ago
@recwar2004, I recommend you try the ID Please group: There are many experts there who regularly help others with identification.
Tuấn Anh Lâm 7 years ago
Thank you . I will try.
MuseumWales PRO 7 years ago
Hi - I'm from the National Museum of Wales and I've been invited to join this group.
I've been adding some machine tags to some of the images in my photostream, but have a few questions

* Does the EOL include fossils/extinct animals?

* What if a species is a variety, do I tag "tanonomy:binomial Genus species var. variation" ?

*Also I have one specimen with an original species name that has subsequently been updated - I've included two machine tags for this.

*Will the machine tags pick up special charicters? or do I need to put in the html codes: i.e. "Doliolum mülleri" or "Doliolum mülleri"

I've added the items into the Flickr group pool - Enjoy!

Many thanks
Graham Davies [MuseumWales]
pigsonthewinguk 7 years ago
@Graham Davies [MuseumWales] : Try tagging with



smallislander 7 years ago

I don't think tagging anything with 'tanonomy' will work,(sorry) but it does illustrate the very tiresome and painstaking requirements of tagging with machine tags, if they are to be of any use.

I like Vishal Bhave have just discovered
Quality Control for Flickr images in the group Encyclopedia of Life Images.

I didn't machine tag anything in the early days with the group, so 13% of the phoos don't have them. Other problems were mostly due to misplaced spaces, quotes, etc. The test list itemises them all, so you can easily change them.
iansand PRO 7 years ago
What do you do with species names that repeat the genus? This photo is of a black winged stilt himantopus himantopus. The tagging system ignores the repetition.
A.Poulos (Iya) 7 years ago
@ iansand: I have not seen that problem. I have some pictures on the Bison bison page:
Just make sure you put the full scientific name for the binomial.
pleary 7 years ago
I also found this photo of Mola mola in the group that is properly tagged: . Perhaps you should try to delete the other binomial tags and try again. Maybe even try "taxonomy:binomial=Himantopus himantopus" or with the quotes like taxonomy:binomial="Himantopus himantopus" to see if quote placement has anything to do with it. Please do report back if you get it to work so others can do the same.
cyanocorax PRO 7 years ago
@iansand -- Very strange -- I tried to add the machine tag for that photo and it also seemed to think it already had it in the right format. I agree with Patrick that deleting the current binomial tags might help "unconfuse" Flickr so that you can add the correct one.
HermannFalkner/sokol 7 years ago
Hello all :)

I only recently joined the EOL group and I'm not quite sure if I got the tagging right; my images should be listed under "non-authoritative" images in EOL but aren't (I checked with Cameraria ohridella again, just now; mine isn't there.) I've gone through the checklist (images need to be public, license, tag) and I don't quite see what I've done wrong.

By the way, I found out that at least on my PC this:

taxonomy:binomial=cameraria ohridella

wouldn't work; the tag only would show "Cameraria" but not the species name. Thus I used:


which seems to work. Is this a bug or should this be a problem of my local setup?
Any help is appreciated.
Many thanks! :)

HermannFalkner/sokol 7 years ago
Hello again,

to add to what I said above: obviously it takes EOL quite some time to pick up those machine tags; I've found out that finally at least one of my uploads as found its way into the database.

Unfortunately, it was one which I tagged incorrectly, so I'm sorry but yet another question; this one here:
(third row, in the middle, with Papaver rhoeas - corn poppy)
actually isn't Muscari comosum but Muscari tenuiflorum.

Thus my question is: will EOL discover, over time, that I changed the taxonomy tag (to taxonomy:binomial=muscari.tenuiflorum), or should I notify EOL as this isn't done automatically?

kostolany244 PRO 7 years ago
You have to tag your binominal names like this: "taxonomy:binomial=cameraria ohridella"
I think every page where you can use tags has this problem with spaces. Just put your tag into quotation marks and you don't have that problem.
When you change a tag EOL will discover it next time the pictures are harvested. So don't worry about that.
HermannFalkner/sokol 7 years ago
Thanks, Kostolany, all's clear now. :)
nrg800 5 years ago
Sorry for bumping this thread... But when I try to add a machine Tag I get this:

00029 by nrg800

So I get the Genus name in the tag, but not the species... Am I doing anything wrong?
Sciadopitys 5 years ago
You need to put the name in quotes, like this:

taxonomy:binomial="Esacus magnirostris"

The software cuts the tag at the space if the quotes are not there.
lotlhmoq PRO 5 years ago
or like this:

"taxonomy:binomial=Esacus magnirostris"
nrg800 5 years ago
Thank you all!
ajnarivera 5 years ago
My tags look fine at first "taxonomy:binomial=Euphilomedes carcharodonta" for example, but then something happens to them to turn them into "nomy:binomial=Euphilomedes"

Any ideas what's going wrong? Are my species names too long?
ajnarivera 5 years ago
And one more thing - Flickr wont let me delete the shortened tag.
cyanocorax PRO 5 years ago
That's strange - can you give an example picture?
cyanocorax PRO 5 years ago
Okay, I found examples -- in all the cases it looks like the new tags are fine but something corrupted the first try. You could go to your "all tags" page (mine is ; you can find "Your tags" under the "You" menu then look for the "See all your tags link").

Then you can find the bad tags and just delete all of them at once.
. . . .unless they are so corrupted even that won't work. But they shouldn't cause any problems for EOL because our harvesting program will just ignore them since they don't start with "taxonomy"
ajnarivera 5 years ago
Ok, the new tags stuck and the pictures showed up on eol. But now a week later they are gone! They are still tagged correctly and part of the Flickr group. Any ideas?
ajnarivera 5 years ago
Never mind! They are magically showing up now.
treegrow PRO 5 years ago
Sorry about the inconsistencies. I think sometimes images are disappearing briefly when the Flickr data are getting updated. When you notice an image is missing, check back the next day. If it's still missing, let us know.
gdahlman PRO 5 years ago
Just to clarify, if I want to contribute an image to a subspecies that is lacking.

Lets say Dicentra formosa ssp. formosa

Do I just do the trinomial?

e.g. taxonomy:trinomial="Dicentra formosa formosa"

or does EOL even use trinomial tags?
Sciadopitys 5 years ago
Use taxonomy:trinomial="Dicentra formosa subsp. formosa" - I've found that does work (it won't work properly without the rank in plants)
Steve Groom PRO 5 years ago
Just joined this group and am reading about the taxonomy and machine tags. I live in Europe and am quite likely to have the latin name as well as the common name in English and often enough the common name in the local language.
What is the preferred method to list all the known common names and can I note the language in each case?
E.g Taxonomy.common.Fr='muet' andTaxonomy.common.En='gull'

Sciadopitys 5 years ago
The Taxonomy:common tags are optional; they don't actually do anything at EOL. Generally I don't bother with them. Only the Taxonomy:binomial one is essential.
aviceda PRO 5 years ago
Just a quick question that has probably been answered before on this thread, can taxonomy and machine tags be applied to images on sites other than 'Flickr'? (Does the website have to be vetted by EOL first?)
treegrow PRO 5 years ago
You can add the tags wherever you want, but we currently only harvest photos from Flickr. If you have another web site that you would like to have harvested, send an email to affiliate[at] to start the conversation. Note that we can only use content that is available under a creative commons license, and reuse at least for non-commercial purposes must be allowed; i.e., we cannot use anything that's All Rights Reserved or NoDeriv.
aviceda PRO 5 years ago
Thanks for the info Treegrow
origamiPete 5 years ago
so "taxonomy:species=Bufo bufo" would be all right?
treegrow PRO 5 years ago
No, that would be:

"taxonomy:binomial=Bufo bufo"

If you wanted to use the species tag, you would have to do:

origamiPete 5 years ago
okay, sorry. I've fixed the tags ;-)
Chris_Moody PRO 4 years ago
Here's a question. I used to machine tag a lot of content so that it'd go on EOL. I then decided to try and go semi-professional, but have now decided against this as I missed being a part of a community sharing nature photos, as opposed to trying to sell them!

As a result of this I have a number of non-creative commons, non-machine tagged photos on Flickr. Is there a way to get the Organizr to show un-machinetagged photos? (much like you can show tagged or untagged only) I just want to see what I have that isn't machine tagged so I can process them for use on EOL.

Many thanks for your help.
Victoria Gracia 4 years ago
I guess it will be easier to show non-creative commons licensed photos rather than non-machine tagged photos.
treegrow PRO 4 years ago
Hi Chris,

I'm glad you find value in participating in the creative commons community. We have the EOL Images Quality Control tool which lets you check both on the licensing and the tagging status of your photos. Unfortunately, the tools is not working properly right now. Apparently, Flickr changed its API and we have lost the names of contributors as a result. However, you can access your report here. This page shows you a list of all your photos that cannot be imported to EOL because they have incompatible licenses or because the don't have the proper machine tags. Let me know if you need any additional information.
Chris_Moody PRO 4 years ago
Hmm, thanks for that.

Would it be acceptable for me to submit a load of photos from the last 18 months and then use the above mentioned report tool to go through and update the licencing and tags on the unacceptable ones? It'll be quite a number of photos, but it's probably easier than going through my entire photostream from the last 18 months!
treegrow PRO 4 years ago
Hi Chris,

Sure, whatever works best for you. It's good that you let us know though. We sometimes purge photos with incompatible licenses from the group.
Chris_Moody PRO 4 years ago
Thanks. I've added 136 images to the pool and over the coming days will start to work through them all making sure they're described and tagged in accordance with the EOL requirements.
Chris_Moody PRO 4 years ago
Thanks for your help so far. I'm a little confused over the report though now.

In Organizr I've got 500+ images in the group pool, but the report says I've contributed 255 images.

Is this to do with the report/API being broken, or some other thing?

Thanks for your help. I'm slowly getting there on updating the tags on everything!
daveo12 PRO 4 years ago
Machine tags incompatible with Aperture 3?

I do all my work in Aperture 3 and then sync across to Flickr. I have tagged photos in Aperture using both placements of the ''
taxonomy:binomial="Esacus magnirostris" and
"taxonomy:binomial=Esacus magnirostris"

But when these are transferred across to Flickr I lose the species name.

Is anyone aware of a fix for this?

Will taxonomy:binomial=Esacus_magnirostris work instead? Or any other such option?

(Doing my tagging in Flickr itself is not a preferred solution as it is a lot easier to do it all in Aperture)
tim ellis PRO 4 years ago
Flickr ignores spaces when comparing Tags, so "taxonomy:binomial=Esacusmagnirostris" would work on Flickr, but maybe not for EOL

Presumably Aperture is ignoring the quotes and treating the space as a break in the tag? do you get a lone "magnirostris" tag appearing as well?

Can you add other two word tags using Aperture (so can you tag "Esacus magnirostris" without the machine tag bit)? Do you use quotes to do this?

Do you add multiple tags using Aperture, If so, how do you separate them?
treegrow PRO 4 years ago
Underscores in tags won't work for EOL and neither does leaving out the space. But in your case all of this is a mute point, because all of the images you have posted to the EOL pool are "All Rights Reserved." EOL can only import images that are released under one of the following licenses:

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC-BY-NC-SA)
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC-BY-NC)
Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY)
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA)

Unless you change your licenses to one that's compatible with EOL policies, your images will never get imported, even if you fix your tags.
daveo12 PRO 4 years ago
Tim - only the Genus name gets imported (no lone species name). I haven't tried any other two word tags but can do this to see what happens. Adding multiple tags is very easy in Aperture (using the stamp tool) and they are separated by a comma. You can also add tags and the comma manually. I'll play around to see if I can come up with a solution. If I can, I'll post it back here.

Treegrow - I am more than happy to change my photos to Creative Commons (as this is easily down as a batch in Flickr) but have been more focussed on fixing the more significant problem. Changing the licence is a moot point if I then have to change all the tags manually which then syncs back incorrectly to Aperture (as has happened with all the tags you have changed). This is one of the reasons I would prefer to manage my own photos rather than have other individuals on Flickr do it in a way that suits one groups criteria but not mine or other groups. That way I can make the changes in Aperture and get them to sync across correctly to Flickr (and EOL) to fix the problem. While I appreciate you wanting to change the photos so that they are suitable for EOL, contact within Flickr is very easy and a bit of courtesy would have been appreciated before you manually changed all my tags. I now have to manually 'fix' all the tags in Aperture as well as manually delete all the incorrect Genus only tags within EOL. Your response also has nothing to do with this thread and, again with some courtesy, could have been made directly to my Flickr account (perhaps in response to the private email I sent you some days ago to discuss the Aperture tagging issue).
carrieseltzer 4 years ago
Many of the African tree species I am machine tagging don't have the higher-order taxonomy automatically available. How does that get assembled? I don't want to manually machine tag every family (and upwards). Is there a plan to make the higher-order taxonomy automatically available for more species?
treegrow PRO 4 years ago
Are you referring to the inaturalist tagging tool? For EOL you generally only need the binomial name to get your photo imported to the correct page. Information about families etc. is only important in case of homonyms, i.e., if different groups share the same name.
ANIC Insects PRO 4 years ago
Hi - my machines tags are leaving out the space between genus and species:

I have tagged a drawer image with "taxonomy:binomial:Periplaneta australasiae" and this seems to be correct on the bottom right of my screen:

But if I click on that tag to see who else has tagged an image with that name, the space between Periplaneta and australasiae disappears and it tells me I'm the only one with that tag:

I know this is not true because there is this image from BHL:

What's going on?
treegrow PRO 4 years ago
Flickr does the tag search on a normalized version of your tag which has all letters in lower case and all the spaces removed. This does not interfere with the function of the tag as a taxonomic flag for the EOL harvester.

However, I don't understand why it wouldn't find the BHL image in the tag search. I suspect this is some kind of a Flickr bug. It might have something to do with this: Flickr Search may not reflect recent uploads and changes
mgjefferies PRO 4 years ago
ANIC Insects:

Isn't there a mistake in your tag? Should be an = before the Periplaneta
ANIC Insects PRO 4 years ago
Thanks TreeGrow and mgjeffries.

The machine tag in my post was wrong (didn't have the =) but the ones on the images are correct. They *are* showing up in EOL (which is what I want) so I'm not too worried about the other bug in the system.

Thanks for responding.
OwenMartin12 Posted 4 years ago. Edited by OwenMartin12 (member) 4 years ago
Hi, does anyone know if there is a way to machine tag a photo as to indicate un unranked taxonomic level? My question is mainly for species groups. I have an image of a Condylostylus fly, which is tagged to genus, but that encompasses about a hundred described species. However, I know the species group is Caudatus, which narrows it down to just eight species. Is there a tag for a species group?
treegrow PRO 4 years ago
Unfortunately, there's currently no way to tag for species groups or other unranked clades. I recommend that you provide that information in your image description which will also be shown on EOL.
OwenMartin12 4 years ago
Thanks! I'll add that in.
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