Site Upgrades and Maintenance June 9-13, 2021

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Last Updated: 10/20/2021 

This blog will continue to be updated periodically during the next week or so as we roll out the new CitSci.

Welcome to the NEW CitSci!

CitSci is back up! You can login, enter observations, update personal and project profiles, and conduct your community science projects on CitSci just as before. We’ll be continuing to make improvements weekly so get in touch if you have any comments, questions, or concerns. We remain committed to helping you do great community science!

What’s different?

You’ve asked and we’ve listened. We’ve worked with numerous stakeholders to update the new CitSci to better meet your community science needs. You’ll discover:

  • A new, more modern project page to showcase your citizen science
  • An easy to use datasheet creator
  • Faster page load times
  • New mobile apps that allow you to share observations on the go in online and offline situations
  • A new Project Forums Tab for chatting with project members

Datasheets and observations also have new features that allow much greater flexibility, including ability to:

  • Format your observation date time to date, date time minute, or date time down to the second
  • Select a picklist, have users input latitude & longitude, or both for the Location field
  • Assign locations to specific users
  • Allow volunteers to add multiple measurements for same variable on the go (Example: Add Weight #1, Add Weight #2, Add Weight #3, etc)
  • Add more robust validation rules (min max value, required / not required) to datasheet questions
  • Append images after observations have been created
  • Allow project members to directly communicate with project managers
  • Integrate your project data with Zooniverse (for projects that need image analysis tools)

And there are a few upgrades you won’t see but make your experience better including improved security, better data storage, more robust fields tied to the PPSR Core project metadata standard and more.

What you need to know

Everyone

  1. There are some bugs. Despite our best efforts, we know there are some bugs. We’re working hard to resolve bugs we know about and any new ones you report to us. Send us a message via our Bug Reporting Form if you experience anything wonky.
  1. When you first visit the site after the upgrades, you’ll be prompted to update your password as part of our move to a more secure platform. To do so:
    1. Login with your current username and password
    2. Enter your email address (this is case sensitive) and click Update Password
    3. Check your email for the secure link we sent you and click the link in the email
    4. Change your password (you’ll be asked to create a longer password than in the past) and click submit
    5. After clicking submit, login again now with your username and new password
  1. Mobile app users: Submit any saved observations in the CitSci.org mobile apps before Wednesday, June 9th, 12:00pm EST. Do not make any new observations after 12:00 pm EST as they will not be able to be submitted.
  1. We’re here to help. If you have any concerns about the site or need help figuring out how to do something specific, send us a message – we’re always glad to help. Our team is small but we will do our best to help you in a timely manner.

Project Managers 

  1. Add a Banner image to your Project Profile page: Showcase your awesome project by adding a Banner image of your field site, study organism or volunteers to your Project Profile page. You can upload banner images 3MB or smaller. 
  1. Check your Project Descriptions and datasheets for HTML: In the previous version of CitSci, you may have added links or other HTML code to your Project Profile page or datasheets. The new version doesn’t yet support HTML so you may want to edit those sections.
  1. Adding Photos to Datasheets – NEW requirement: If you normally ask your volunteers to contribute photo data, you will need to go into your datasheets and edit them to add photo elements. The OLD CitSci automatically added 4 photo upload options to each datasheet. The NEW CitSci allows project managers to include unlimited photo elements on each datasheet (a huge perk for some projects) but you will need to add them to your datasheets. Now you’ll be able to more easily ask volunteers to take photos to go with specific measurements. And, your volunteers can now duplicate any photo element you add to a datasheet which will allow them to take as many photos as they wish for anything you ask them to photograph. 
  1. Review your datasheets and make a test observation: The new look and feel of the datasheet should reflect most existing datasheets really well. But, we know there will still be the occasional strangeness from an unusual or unexpected use case. Take a quick gander at your datasheets and see how they look. Are any of your labels too long to fit the new space? Is there HTML where there used to be a link? Use your editing tools to adjust where needed and if you run into any problems, ask us for help
  1. After you create a NEW project, reload the page: When you create a NEW project, you are automatically redirected to the Project Profile page. In order to see your Project Manager tools, be sure to refresh the Project Profile page. This is a bug that actively working to fix. 

What’s missing in this version

The new CitSci.org is more secure and has new capabilities. But, it also lacks a few things you were used to. The important features you might not see right away include:

  • Analyses Tab
  • Data searching and sorting across all locations and observations
  • Dynamic Charts (view trends as dynamic chart on location details page)
  • Downloading Data (for now please just send us a request)
  • When you review Organism data submitted to your project, you may notice the data about the organism isn’t listed in the same order as it was on the datasheet – this is a bug and we’re actively working to fix it.

We are actively working to bring back all of these features in an even better way and will roll them out via frequent, smaller updates in the next few months. 

What’s ahead

The improvements will continue! We’re working hard to redesign many of our current tools and bring them back in improved ways. And, our work won’t end here. We’ll be bringing you even more new features including integrations with the Zooniverse, improved communications, and better data visualizations.

Thanks for your continued excellence in citizen science,

The CitSci Team

3 comments on “Site Upgrades and Maintenance June 9-13, 2021”

  1. Will the web version of Version 2 be available via a browser at the same time the desktop version is available, i.e., on June 14?

    Like

    1. Hi Bruce – great question. Yes – you will be able to access the new platform on your phone using a web browser as you have done so in the past. In fact – we have made the new platform responsive so it will display nicer on various devices. Thanks – Greg

      Like

  2. Sounds exciting and good luck with the transition! Change can be a bit “wonky” 😉 at times; but this change sounds just right.

    Liked by 1 person

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