Purpose of Journals

Hi. I’m new here. I see a spot where people can make journal entries. I’m wondering if this is for specific purposes only. The reason I’m asking is that I’ve been regularly visiting a family of deer and thought I should start recording what I see. I’m wondering if journal entries on here is a good option.

go for it! different people use the journals here for a variety of purposes. Some people write journals to educate or inform, some use them to recount specific trips or observations, sometimes they are used to organize events, some are to record general notes, etc. To see what everyone else is journaling about, you can visit https://www.inaturalist.org/journal


Most of us who have done nature observations for many years keep field journals, typically hand-written in a bound or looseleaf notebook. I started when I was about 17 and that was – let’s say many years and about 30-40 notebooks ago. As I’ve gotten more into photography to document what I see I tend to write less about my observations but the field notebook still comes in handy when I’m trying to figure out where I was on a certain date and photographed some animal. You can record coordinates, location description, weather conditions, who you were with, a list of species detected, habitat description, comments on anything unusual, etc., etc.

I’m too stuck in my ways with a handwritten journal to switch to a computer to record such notes but there’s nothing wrong with doing the latter.


I agree that it’s fair game to use it for whatever you want. Whatever seems appropriate or helpful to you. I’ve decided to use my journal to record animals that I saw, but wasn’t able to snap a photo of. I know that iNat does allow for posting observations without evidence, but I prefer to stick with things that are at least potentially verifiable. It’s still nice to have a list of what I saw for my own personal records though.

If you want to use your journal to record details of the deer family you’ve been watching, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t. It’s a nice way to record things that you want to make a note of but might not necessarily fit well as part of an observation.


I use mine to collect info about how to differentiate easily-confused species, such as common and pale jewelweed, or different canada bunchberries. I also use it to track what photos I’ve uploaded - I organize by date/location, and I have digital pix back to 2003, so definitely a work in progress! I really do wish it would permit tables though! I think your uses are perfect :-)


I would like to suggest that if you are interested in permanence, digital notes should be backed up on paper, using archival materials (rag paper, pigmented ink, etc.). Anyone who thinks digital data will have a long life is optimistic. There are other reasons for a paper journal: Pencil sketches will encourage closer observation and impress details in your mind. Also, for some of us, it’s just satisfying. I’m not saying the online journal is a bad thing, just saying paper and pen or pencil are not obsolete.


@samnorris As my mother likes to say, we can still read the Dead Sea scrolls lol.


Agreed. I should add, in the “old days” we didn’t have digital cameras or GPS units (I didn’t have a film camera for some years either), so hand-written notes were good for sketching illustrations of animals or plants to help me ID them later and for drawing a map of the location to help pinpoint it later on topo maps. Those were the days (primitive, I know).


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