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Origins of SINA

T.J. Walker, September 2019

This Web site had its beginnings in the early 1960's, when R. D. Alexander proposed that the three persons most actively involved in recording the sounds of North American insects cooperate to produce a book entitled The Acoustical Insects of North America, "in sections variously authored" by Richard D. Alexander, Thomas J. Walker, and Thomas E. Moore.

Dick Alexander's initial proposal was never implemented, but it stimulated TJW to broaden the geographical focus of his research on crickets and katydids to all of America north of Mexico and to secure a series of grants from NSF to support my studies and those of my graduate students. For about 20 years Dick and I worked toward producing a Handbook of Crickets and Katydids. This book was to enable professional biologists and interested amateurs to identify all North American species. Identifications were to be made easier and more accurate by an accompanying disk of their recorded songs. Dick eventually gave priority to other academic activities and suggested that I complete the Handbook on my own. I continued to work on the Handbook, but I too gave priority to other projects.

In 1997, I began to post on the Web completed portions of the Handbook. In the same year, Sam Droege arranged a contract for me to provide the U. S. Department of Interior representative recordings of North American crickets and katydids. Under this contract, I made wav files of 200 analog recordings of more than 160 species. In 1999, I put these and other wav files on the Internet as part of the Web-version of Handbook of Crickets and Katydids, and Tom Moore and I agreed to cooperate on a two-CD set that would make the calling songs of crickets, katydids, and cicadas available to the public. In 2000, the proposed CDs morphed into the current Web site, because Piotr Naskrecki (2000) demonstrated the power and attractiveness of an HTML-mediated, interactive mixture of songs, images, and text by publishing such a mixture on a CD with his Katydids of Costa Rica.

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