FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
24th July 2012
with the redesign? It seemed to take ages and doesn't look that much
Ooooh! Those are nice pictures, can I use them in my project/on my
The page doesn’t display correctly – what’s going on?
There’s a lot of info on your pages making them daunting. Could you
split them into ‘bite-sized’ chunks?
I have some photos/drawings that I’d like to contribute, how do I go
How do I cite information I’ve taken from this website?
I have some information I'd like to contribute to your website - where
so I start?
I have spotted an error or disagree with something on your website. What
should I do?
Why does it take so long to get each article or Q/A online? Can't you hurry it up?
Q: What's with the redesign? It seemed to take ages and
doesn't look that much different.
A: Fair comment! The site's revamp did take much longer than
I had anticipated; although in my defense I do work full-time and moved
house in the middle of it all! Nonetheless, the idea behind the
re-design was not so much to give WLOL a fresh look, although it does
look a bit different and it's growing on me. Ultimately, the plan was to
recode the site using as much industry standard code as possible. The
previous incarnation of the site was created back in 2006, when I moved
away from a framed design, using Microsoft Frontpage 2003. As most of
you with any knowledge of web design will be only too aware, Frontpage
was something of a coding 'loose cannon' producing a considerable amount
of redundant code that served to slow the page loading and sometimes
cause rendering issues. In addition, the table-based design was clunky
and often difficult to format, as well as further slowing the site's
loading. Finally, each page was independent and any changes weren't
copied across the site, meaning some pages looked slightly different and
a lot of work was involved maintaining the site's menu. Anyway, in
essence, the new site has a cleaner code and incorporates CSS. It should
be quicker to load and the results should be more comparable across
browsers. The pages are also generated based on a dynamic web template,
meaning that I can easily change the layout on a master file and it will
be copied to all linked pages on the site. There are downsides to DWTs
and I have no doubt there are easier or fancier ways of writing the
site, but in the end WLOL is about the information more than anything
else - I do my best to present the information in a visually pleasing
way, but I'm not a web designer and don't really have time to train as
one. I hope the new-look WLOL is a happy compromise between design and
function. (Back to Menu)
Q: Ooooh! Those are nice pictures, can I use them in my
project/on my website?
A: That largely depends to whom the picture belongs. If I took the
photo, or drew the picture you’re after, then yes, you can use it – with
two small conditions. The first is that you e-mail me to tell me where
you wish to use this picture (which also enables me to send you higher
quality versions of the image you require); the second is that you
credit me as the author. I would also appreciate a link to my website if
the picture is to be used for Internet material. It is important to
point out that the fact that a picture is on my site doesn’t mean that I
own it. Many very generous folks have donated their work to the site
and, as such, permission to use the picture(s) is not mine to give or
deny. If you’re after a photo that’s taken by anyone other than me, it
is to that person you need to direct your request. This can be done via
one of two routes. If the photographer/artist has a website, you can
click their name on my Many Thanks page to be
whisked to their site, where you will (quite probably) find an e-mail
contact for them. Alternatively, you can e-mail
me, telling me which picture you’re after and I will forward your
message to the respective person. It will then be up to them to say
“yay” or “nay”. Please bear in mind that some of the pictures featured
on the site were donated several years ago and the contact e-mail I have
for that photographer may no longer be active. I will do my best to
contact him or her on your behalf, but I cannot guarantee to reach them
or that they will respond to my e-mail. (Back to Menu)
Q: The page doesn’t display correctly – what’s going on?
A: Don’t you just love computers?!?
Unfortunately, each web browser interprets a given chunk of Hypertext
Mark-up Language (HTML) code slightly differently! Ergo, when viewing
the homepage of Wildlife Online using Internet Explorer or Firefox, the
page may look slightly different than it would were you to view it
using Opera or another browser (although this is less of an issue now
than it was five or ten years ago). When it comes to creating the code for
this site, it is written and tweaked so that the site looks best in
Firefox and Chrome. Why? The answer is simple: these are the
two most popular web browsers currently in use. According to the latest
survey by the Web developer site W3Schools Online, as of June 2012 some
42% of people surfing the Web use Chrome, while about 34% use Firefox. Some 17% use
Internet Explorer (a massive drop when you think that 10 years ago
almost 90% of Web surfing was done with IE) and only about 6% use either
Safari or Opera, with the former having twice the following of the
latter. Despite coding for Chrome and Firefox, however, I do also test
the site with IE, Opera and Safari. I found that the site displays
appropriately in all of these browsers, although the spacing between
lines and paragraphs does seem to vary a little.
If you are experiencing major problems viewing this site, feel free
to e-mail the Webmaster about it - please include details of your web
browser, operating system and the date you experienced the problem. It
may be that your browser is picking up a glitch in the code, which I may
be able to correct. (Back to Menu)
Q: There’s a lot of info on each of your animal pages that
makes them a little daunting. Could you not split the pages into smaller
A: This was a question raised by several people who viewed the original
site design. As incomprehensible as it may seem, the information on each
of the wildlife topics is only a summary of the multitudinous
information that is available! As such, I am reluctant to lose any of
the content and feel that it would probably swamp the website were I to
split the pages into smaller sections (say, one page per section).
I hope, however, that the splitting of each article into sections has
provided a suitable compromise.
Essentially, the main content pages has been ‘virtually’ split with the aid
of a menu at the top. Thus, although all the information is still on a
single -- in some instances, long -- page, the user can opt to jump to
specific parts using the menu at the top of the page. Each ‘section’ has
the option to return to the top menu by clicking the hyperlink at the
end of the final paragraph. This format gives the user the option of
reading the entire piece, or selecting specific categories that interest
him or her. In addition to this, I have refrained from covering many of
the topics associated with the particular species on their profiles;
instead, I have sectioned them off as questions under the Q/A section.
Finally, I have created a Speed Read page, which provides a basic
overview of the species covered on the site. (Back to Menu)
Q: I have some photos/drawings that I’d like to contribute,
how do I go about it?
A: Fantastic! I’m always on the lookout for some decent photos and
drawings to further enhance the site. Check out my
Photos Needed page,
which sets out the terms for getting your images on to the site and -- if
you agree to them -- e-mail me the pictures along with your full name
(i.e. Christian and surnames) and the address of your website, or a
website you’d like me to link your credit to.
With regard to the formats of your pictures, I leave this largely up
to you. Having said this, I could do without receiving huge TIFF or RAW
images, or images saved in a photo editing propriety format (which I
can’t open unless I happen to have that program). The image formats I
can accept are: GIF, JPEG, JPG, IMG, PCX, BMP, PIC, PCT, DRW, and PNG. I
can open TIF, TIFF and (some) RAW files if these are the only format
options you have, although my e-mail provider will bounce images larger
than 10mb. (Back to Menu)
Q: How do I cite information I’ve taken from this website in
my School/College/Uni project?
A: Taking information from websites is generally frowned upon by
University lecturers, mainly owing to the amount of false material
circulating on the Internet. I can, however, provide references for the
majority of information used on this site (certain aspects represent
personal observation by myself and collaborators) and I feel that the
information presented herein is accurate to the best of my knowledge and
understanding. Thus, I’d suggest using the format that my tutors at Uni
wanted me to use when citing Internet sources. We were told to use the
format of the following example:
In the main text:
“However, Golden eagles can only lift 4 or 5kgs (Internet Source 1).
This suggests that only small…”
In the Bibliography, under the heading “Internet Resources”
Internet Source 1: Name of Website: Name of Page URL Address in Full.
Accessed on: (date)
Therefore, for the above main text example, the bibliography would
Internet Source 1: Wildlife Online: The Red Fox http://www.wildlifeonline.me.uk/red_fox.html.
Accessed on: 10th May 2003.
Different lecturers have different preferences when it comes to
citing reference material and, if you’re going to use information from
this site in a report, it is best to check with your tutor first and
check the format that he/she wants you to use. (Back to Menu)
Q: I have some information I'd like to contribute to your
website or I'd like to write a page on the natural history of my
favourite animal for your site - where do I start?
A: I'm always open to new ideas for content and am grateful for the
offer of assistance. That said, I have worked hard to create the content
on this site and am proud of the way it has turned out, even if it is
still very much a work in progress. Consequently, I am rather reluctant
to 'throw the shutters open' and allow independent contributions unless
I feel that they offer a unique insight that I would otherwise be unable
to provide. Nonetheless, if you have a subject that relates to British
wildlife that you are passionate about and would fit the style and
content of this site, I am happy to discuss it further with you. Feel
free to e-mail me an outline of what (and why) you want to contribute.
Please note that any accompanying photographs or illustrations must be
cleared for use on this site (i.e. the photographer/artist must give
their written permission). (Back to Menu)
Q: I have spotted an error or disagree with something on your
website. What should I do?
A: Please send me an e-mail stating the error or disagreement and I will
endeavour to respond within 48 hours and update the site as necessarily.
Q: Why does it take so long to get each
article or Q/A online? Can't you hurry it up?
A: Good things, as they say, come to those who wait! Seriously though, a
considerable amount of time and effort goes into writing each article
for this site and the research alone involves ploughing through books,
scientific papers, abstracts, web forums, contacting experts, etc. and
can take many months to complete. Indeed, I often have to track down and
purchase out of print books, make trips to university libraries looking
for papers or request reprints from the authors or the British Library.
Once the research is complete -- well, it never gets truly complete but
when I have reached a point where I feel I have something to write about
-- I have to sit down and put metaphorical pen to paper. During the
writing phase many obstacles arise, I suffer writer's block, I get
frustrated or despondent at not being able to explain something clearly,
the sun comes out and I want to get out with my camera and, perhaps more
of an obstacle than anything else, I work full time. Work, as most of
you will be only too aware, means that by the time evenings and weekends
come around any enthusiasm for spending more time sitting at a computer
has been drained. Once the write-up is complete it then goes through
three stages of proof-reading by four (sometimes more) people who also
have other time commitments. Once any corrections picked up by the
proofers have been made, artwork and photos need to be sorted out and
the article needs to be formatted for publication online. So, the upshot
of all this is that it can take a while to prepare the articles. In the
end, I hope that they're worth the wait! (Back to Menu)
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