Monday, January 30, 2012

What are these called?

There is a group of animals that I do not know how to categorize.  For example, When you search for a picture of a wild animal you expect to see this

or maybe this

But you do not expect to see this

or this

Ok, so the latter group is a problem. We love these guys. They are not pets, they are not domesticated, they are wild but....??  It may seem like a trivial problem really, something that a good librarian, or veterinarian could tidy up and at the very least apply some good nouns and viola' --all is well.  But, alas, google and its friends are photo-blind, seeing only a box, an empty box, or an "object" where there is a picture.   So, to create eyes and windows we use Categories & keywords -- wrapping these gorgeous, silly, educational, friendly and familiar creatures in pictures with words.

Most stock photo agencies, professional photo buyers, and even regular folk agree about how they would categorize most animals.  Right or wrong image websites offer pets, wild animals, and farm (or agriculture) animals. As one creative director said -- there are the ones you shoot, the ones we eat, and the ones we adopt and treat like children." Granted there is a bit of slippage across cultures but by and large given a photo of a cow or an elephant we know how to categorize them.

But then one is left with the opossum, raccoons, the "garden deer", foxes, turtles, squirrels, etc..... We have an extraordinary collection of images showing baby and adult animals that I cannot seem to categorize.  They are "wild" but when placed in that category it is clear that the person searching for wild animals isn't looking for a smiling possum.
If keywords are the way people find pictures and search engines make them available it is important to word-ify these creatures to help them and us.

To solve this problem I started asking people --- image buyers, photographers children, biologists, marketers, and frankly anyone that would bear up to it three different questions.
1. Do you think possums, hedgehogs, squirrels, groundhogs, turkeys, and raccoons are "wild" animals?
2. If you were searching for pictures of "wild animals" and  images of a raccoon came up would you disagree.
2. What would you call this group of animals to differentiate them from cattle, pigs, dogs, elephants, and kittens-- the farm animals, wild animals, and pets or just cute?

Here are the suggestions so far....Yard animals, animals.... pests......mid-size animals, wild animals, short-range animals, familiar animals, animals of fields and meadows, storybook animals (?), Wind in the Willows animals, animals that hang around bird feeders,animals that eat from my garden, animals that seem to thrive despite or because of people.  More suggestions, please.

Sharon and all from Mother-Daughter Press

Click here to see more "Yard animals"