Bulletin of the Nigerian Ornithologists' Society
Development of a consolidated species index
Methods used for Volumes 1-5




A printed index already existed. The author of this index is unknown. On the left are annotated pictures of the cover and the first page of the copy held by Bob Dowsett.   Peculiarities of this index are:
  1. Page numbering in volumes 1 and 4 is dependent upon the part number (4 parts per volume.)
  2. Volume numbers are underlined, part numbers are in brackets, page numbers are separated by colons.
  3. Generic name after the first species of each genus is indicated by ditto.
  4. Because the index was typewritten on stencils it is of uneven clarity and has ambiguous characters from typing corrections.
  5. Nomenclature follows Bannerman (Birds of Tropical West Africa, 1930-1951).

We hoped to use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to reproduce this index but, after several trials, gave up on this idea, especially because of points 2-4 in the above list. 

Each species was named twice in the index, as Genus species and species, Genus.  To save time, Peter decided to reproduce only the Genus species records.  He eventually found that the quickest way was to copy the Genus species list, developed for Malimbusvols 1-27, into the first two columns of a spreadsheet and enter into the third column a template with all possible vol/part numbers, V1(1): V1(2): V1(3): V1(4): V2: V3: V4(1): V4(2): V4(3): V5:. He typed into this template, from the printed index, the page numbers corresponding to each vol/part and deleted those with no pages.  For instance, the entry for Acrocephalus arundinaceous became: V1(1):11,12,22  V1(4):14  V2:4,59  V3:19,56,58,60,100  V4(1):14  V5:7,29,54. 

This process took 33 hours for the whole index and was carried out 1-15 November 2006.  The index includes 896 species.