Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Information Science
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portfolio portfolio portfolio Technology & Infrastructure The Cornell Lab of Ornithology Information Science Department works on a variety of Internet applications, and is recognized as a leader in developing web-based projects that engage tens of thousands of participants in citizen-science projects. Specifically, our work has focused on projects that monitor bird populations, using the Internet to collect observational data from project participants. For example, we have

  • Created the application infrastructure for the Great Backyard Bird Count, a project that gathers over 40,000 bird checklists over a 4-day period in the middle of February, and provides a late winter snapshot of common bird distributions and abundances across North America.
  • Developed and have continued to maintain the online functionality for Project FeederWatch, an annual winter-long survey of bird feeders across the United States and Canada.
  • Built eBird, a yearlong bird checklist project that allows anyone to report any bird they observed, from anywhere in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
The Information Science Department is not solely focused on collecting data; we also develop unique and interactive means to provide data visualizations, through maps, graphs, and tables, to a broad spectrum of users. We also disseminate a variety of information other than bird-monitoring data, from the recordings of nocturnal flight calls of migrating passerines, to presenting an interdisciplinary education curriculum for students in grades 5-8. For example, we have
  • Developed applications to display right whale vocalizations recorded off the coast of Cape Cod.
  • Created analysis tools that use standardized field methodologies for studying nesting success and habitat requirements of breeding birds.
  • Built the infrastructure to make available The Birds of North America online, the definitive reference for the continent's birdlife.