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Uploading Images to Mindat

Last Updated: 29th Oct 2014

By Rock Currier

Uploading images to Mindat

When you upload an image to Mindat it does not automatically go into our general gallery. Rather your image is placed in a suspense file for one of our experts to examine. Mindat has more than 40 experts. Your image will reside there for at least a day or two or in some cases a couple of weeks or rarely as much as a month or more. It may take that long for one of Mindat's experts to resolve questions they may have regarding your specimen. This may involve asking you questions and or consulting with other outside experts because we may not have Mindat members that know a lot about your specific mineral or locality. If your image and specimen are of good quality, the species are well described in the caption and the locality is detailed and accurate, the chances are high that it will be approved quickly and placed in Mindat's general gallery as well as your personal gallery. If the specimen and or the image are of poor quality and the experts think it will not be of particular benefit to our general gallery, it will be placed only in your personal gallery. Don't be afraid that our experts will trash your specimen because you din't pay much for it or collected it yourself. If it is from a locality where we don't have many pictures or that your image shows features like cleavage or an association not well represented in our general gallery, our experts tend to be very liberal. Your image does not have to be a "big money piece". Our experts donate their time. So be patient as they are often busy with day jobs and lend us their help when they can.

Here are some of the things our experts look for and might find wrong with your image/specimen.

Your photo is too small.
Your photo is not clear/out of focus.
Your photo is too dark.
Your photo shows compression artifacts, is too highly compressed.
Please make a daylight color balance correction to your image. It is too yellow or red.
Your photo has an ugly background.
Your photo has too much background, please crop.
Your photo does not adequately display the mineral(s) in question.
Your photo might not be the mineral(s) you say it is.
Your photo might not be from the location you say it is.
The location you have specified is not accurate enough.
Your locality is not in the database; please add the locality and change the locality for the photograph.
You have not identified which part of the photograph shows the mineral(s) in question.
The description of your specimen is inadequate.
You have described the crystallography of your specimen incorrectly.
There are technical errors with your description, please read the detailed comments carefully.
Your photo is not properly categorized.
Your photo is too similar to another photograph of this specimen.
Your photo is not unique or distinct enough compared to other photographs of specimens from this location.

The above is part of the boiler plate of what in Mindat's standard "complaint" letter. You may receive one of these from our experts if they find problems or have questions about your image. In most cases just read down and you will find a section where the expert has written his particular question(s) or comment about your image. This is the heart of the email you may get. Basically they are just notifications to tell you that he or someone else has raised a question about your image. Just read about what the expert says they think is wrong with your image, then fix it or tell us why you think you are correct by return email. If you don't know how to fix it, then ask for help. Everyone who has uploaded a lot of images to Mindat has received these letters. Don't be offended by them; it’s just a quick way for our experts to communicate with you. In most cases we don't know anything about you and your response will often indicate to them how much or how little you know about minerals and this can have a bearing on the approval of your image.

Many of the problems that Mindat has with incoming images, other than those of poor quality, revolve around species and locality information. Here are some comments and observations that will help keep you out of trouble.

Species: The expert will look at your image to make sure the mineral(s) in the picture are what you say they are. If there are multiple species present on the specimen the expert will look at the caption to see if you have described the specimen well enough so that a person who is not knowledgeable can read it and understand what they are looking at. Like: The big red crystal(s) are xxxx and the little green one is yyyy and that little black speck in the lower left hand corner is the rare mineral zzzz and so on. If the mineral you list is not visible on the specimen you should say so in the caption and explain why it is not visible in the picture. If the mineral(s) have been tested, by all means please put that information in the caption and say how they have been tested and by whom. This will go a long way, especially with rare minerals, to have your image quickly placed in our general gallery.

Locality: Our experts will check out your locality for accuracy. Localities are slippery things and it takes many years to acquire the ability to look at a specimen and know its locality. Sometimes the indicators are not obvious and are known to only a few people who are the real experts on a particular locality. Like for example,: ‘Notice the gray green mud in the cracks in the matrix which indicates that this borate specimen is from the Kramer borate deposit rather than one of the ones from Death Valley’. Or like: ‘Notice the colorful agate banding that underlies the amethyst crystals. This indicates that the specimen is from one of the amethyst mines near Artigas, Uruguay’. It is easy for a specimen to lose its locality. The miner or collector who sells or trades the specimen(s) may choose not to faithfully tell where the specimen came from.

Bogus localities are usually given for two reasons. The first being that they don't want others to go to the locality and get specimens until they can have cleaned the place out. The second is that they man may not own the property that produced the specimens and wish to avoid blow back from that situation. In such cases, labels are generated that have an incorrect locality. In addition to this problem, old collection labels are often lost or switched around to other specimens. There are labeling errors even in museums. Every curator has many times had the experience of old time collectors coming to them and telling them that they have one or more of their labels wrong.

Our experts are pretty good, but none of them can know everything. If one of our experts looks at an image of a specimen in the suspense file and is not certain or its locality or species he/she will typically pass over it and hope that another expert may check know more than they do or do the necessary investigation. Because of this, an image may sit in the suspense file for quite some time until one of our managers takes it upon himself to vet the image. Typically if they have questions they may ask why you think it is mineral xxxx or from locality yyyy. The answer they typically get is "Well, that's what the label said." Also Mindat does not like to place images in its general gallery whose localities are given are just the country or state. We really like it if the exact locality is given like Bug Fug Mine, Impossibletopronounce Mining District, Impossibletofind Canyon, Impossibletoclimb Mts, Godforsaken Co, Utah, USA. If you have even more exact information like 28,000 foot level, bigass stope, panel 57 east, Hallelujah pocket, so much the better, but put that information in the caption along with other details you think might be interesting to a viewer from a galaxy far, far away. Sometimes a specimen is so good that we will accept it even if it only has a general locality. Fine gem crystals often come with only a general locality. Finding an exact locality for high grade gem crystals is a bit like trying to find out exactly where a particular moonshine still is located.

Mindat has many new photos added to its database every day, often more than 100. There are more than 500,000 images in our database. Some people have complained that our database is too full of rubbish and that we should do a lot of weeding out of them. Some say that when they go to look images of azurite specimens for instance, they have to wade through tons of rubbish in order to find the good ones. In response to these complaints we have begun to tighten up on what we allow into our general database. If your specimens is of good quality compared to other specimens we have in our database and your photo is also of high quality, the chances of it being placed in our general gallery are high. If they are not it may end up in only your personal gallery. OH, and also keep in mind that I and the experts sometimes make mistakes. But on Mindat it is easy to fix them if you tell us what is wrong.

Rock Currier
One of the volunteer managers on Mindat.
Edited by George Holloway and Demetrius Pohl
October 27, 2014

Article has been viewed at least 5966 times.

Discuss this Article

28th Oct 2014 01:35 GMTPaul Brandes Manager

Well said, Rock!

29th Oct 2014 17:57 GMTRui Nunes Expert

Well written and very educative.

29th Oct 2014 21:25 GMTFernando Brederodes

Nice article, Rock! Very educative!

31st Oct 2014 11:30 GMTAndrea Sansoni

in spite of the filtering there are plenty of pictures where the crystallography is described incorrectly
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