Birdwatcher's Diary User Manual

The Archive Screen

The Archive Screen is used to save or recall your daily archives of sightings.

Archiving Sightings

Tap the Save button on the top line of the screen (if it is not already highlighted) to enter Save mode. On top of the main portion of the screen you'll see three choices for where to archive your sightings: Internal, SD Card, and (optionally), Dropbox (represented by the Dropbox icon, and only present if in the Input/Output section of Settings you have checked Dropbox Active). If your device has a physical (removable) SD card, then the difference between Internal and SD Card is obvious; you can remove the latter and plug it into a computer. If your device only has a "virtual" SD Card, you can access data on that "card" by plugging the device itself into a computer, and making sure you check "Mass Storage" as the "PC Connection type" when your Android device asks you to "Choose a connection type" when you plug it in. Why would you want to choose Internal then? If your SD card is virtual, you probably won't, unless it's space is being consumed by other files. If it is physical, then the advantage of storing files in Internal storage is that they will always be with you, even if you change or remove the SD card.

The software will actually let you choose multiple places to archive the data simultaneously. So if you tap SD Card and Dropbox, when you tap the Archive Sightings button at the bottom, the archive will be saved in both places. If you have a Dropbox account (and we encourage you to do so), this is a great way to ensure that your data is always backed up, even if your device is broken, lost, or stolen.

Below the top three buttons is a field displaying a date and the number of sightings the software detects in your active list for that date. Your active list can have sightings for multiple dates (in general it's not the recommended way to use the software, but you can do so), but you only archive a single day at a time. The displayed date when you first arrive at the screen should display the date that you last recorded a sighting, but if it's wrong, or you want to choose a different date, tap on it, and select the desired date with the "date scroller" that appears. The software will then show the number of sightings it currently has corresponding to that date.

The main part of the screen is taken up with any Trip Notes you want to enter. You can add as little or as much as you want here.

Recalling Archives

Tap Recall to switch to recall mode. On the top we have the same two or three sources from which to recall archives – Internal, SD Card, and (optionally) Dropbox. Unlike saving archives, archives are recalled from only one location at a time, so when you tap one source, it deactivates the others.

Next you have a choice to Replace or Merge the archives. Typically you will use Replace as you simply want to look at your sightings from a particular day. But perhaps you want to recall sightings from five successive days so you can see your cumulative sightings for a particular trip. You could set the mode to Replace, recall the first date, then set the mode to Merge and recall the second, third, fourth, and fifth dates. You could do that, but there's an easier way we'll discuss in a moment.

On the bottom of the screen is a scrolling list of your archived sightings, displaying the date, the locations that you birded on that date, and one line's worth of your Trip Notes from that day. Just tap on any item to recall that archive.

If the source of the archives is Dropbox, things work a little differently. In order not to have to download all the files from Dropbox, the software will only display the date of the sightings, and not the remaining details (locations and trip notes), but instead will display a message "Tap for details." Tapping the first time on an archive will fill in the details so you can verify that that's the archive you want. Once you do, tapping that archive a second time will actually recall the archive itself.

On the upper left of the screen you'll see a small calendar icon. Once you have months' or years' worth of sightings, you won't want to have to scroll manually to find the archive you're looking for (perhaps your sightings from your last trip to someplace you're about to revisit). Instead, you can tap the calendar icon, set the date, and when you do, the list will automatically scroll to that date.

"Life" Lists

One of the very powerful features of the software is the ability to construct not just true "life lists" (all the different species you have seen, or at least all the ones you have recorded with Birdwatcher's Diary), but lists according to a particular set of criteria – a year list, a state list, a county list, and so on. To do this, tap the Year/Life List button and you'll get to a screen which allows you to set the criteria for your search.

Most of the criteria are self-explanatory. The dates are by default set to create a "year list"; change the "From" date to several years ago (before you started recording sightings with the software) to create a life list. Tapping Location will give you a list of your locations to choose from (that is, you don't actually type into that field). Country, State, and County are straightforward. Trip Notes Contain lets you only recall sightings in which you included a certain word or phrase. So if some of your birding trips are with the local Audubon Society, you can search for only sightings in which that phase (case-insensitive) is found. Sighting Notes Contain searches the optional notes you attached to each sighting. For example, perhaps when you obtain a usable photo of a particular species, you enter "Photo" in the notes for that sighting. Now searching for Sighting Notes Contain "Photo" (again, case-insensitive) will produce a "photo life list."

At the bottom are three checkboxes:

First Sighting Only, if checked, creates what some people might call a true "life list," that is, a list of just the first time you recorded a sighting of a particular species. If unchecked, all sightings of each species are recalled. This allows you, on the Sightings screen for that species, to display a map showing every place in the country or world where you have seen that species.

Ignore Year, if checked, lets you create a "month" or "season" list. So for example if the From and To dates are 5/1/14 and 5/31/14 and Ignore Year is checked, the software will produce a list of all sightings during the month of May in any year. If Ignore Year is unchecked, the From and To dates behave as you would expect.

Definite Species Only, if checked, only recalls "full" species. If some of your archives contain a "pseudo-species" like "Accipiter sp." or "Hairy/Downy Woodpecker," the list that is created will include those, and will make you think that your life list is actually larger than it really is. For a "true" life list, you probably want to leave this box checked, but if you do, it won't recall sightings like"Hairy/Downy Woodpecker." Your call.

Syncing with Dropbox

You can only create "life" lists when you are recalling archives from the Internal storage or from the SD Card. If you set the source of archives to Dropbox, the Year/Life List button will read instead Download All. If you have been using Birdwatcher's Diary on an iOS device and archiving sightings to Dropbox, or if you use Birdwatcher's Diary on one Android device, this is a simple way to transfer all the sightings into your new Android device (an alternate method is to copy the files onto the SD card, real or virtual, in the Android device).

When you tap Download All, a dialog box will pop up offering you two options. The Destination where the files will be written when they are copied from Dropbox can be either Internal memory or the SD Card, as you prefer. And you can Download either All the archived sightings in your Dropbox folder, or just those which are New Only (which means either that they don't exist at all in your Android copy of Birdwatcher's Diary, or that they do but that the copy in Dropbox has been modified since the time your local copy was created or updated). Select your options and tap Download to start downloading the files.

File Sizes

Just a note: if you bird every day, recording sightings, you might be worried about filling up the memory of your device with archives. There is no fixed number (it depends on how verbose you are making comments, for example), but a typical day with 40 sightings might create a file 2kB in size. That means three years of daily sightings would only amount to 2MB of files, whereas the typical storage on your device is measured in GB, a thousand times larger. So your chances of running into any sort of storage problem by storing your sightings on your device are essentially zero. The problem you can encounter is the kind one doesn't like to think about – dropping the device in water, losing it, having it stolen, etc. Which is why we strongly recommend that you get a free Dropbox account, and set your archives to save automatically both to your device itself (typically to the SD card) and also to Dropbox. And then if any of those unthinkable things happens, you'll be ready to use the Download All feature to restore your sightings as soon as you're running again (even if you decide to switch to an iOS device, although you will have to purchase the iOS version of the software in that case).

Deleting an Archive

Other than perhaps your first archive when you are "fooling around" getting used to the software, you should never have to delete an archive. If you do, however, just hold your finger down on an archive until a Delete button pops up; tap it to delete the archive (you can only do this for archives stored in Internal or SD Card storage, not in Dropbox).

Read the other sections of the manual:

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