I'm lazy, and I want a lot of flashcards
April 1, 2021 12:08 PM   Subscribe

What tools will most easily take me from a text list of items to a flashcard deck (physical or app-based) via web-scraping and automatically assembling the cards for me?

I have a list of 500 items in an excel file. I can easily turn each of these items into a valid URL for a webpage containing a handful of .jpg/.jpeg images of those items. But the webpage also contains other stuff (text, formatting) that I don't want to see on my flashcards. What I want is a deck of 500 flashcards, where each card has all the pictures from that item's webpage, plus the name of the item as the "hidden" thing I am supposed to be memorizing.

What toolsets and workflows can get me there most easily? I can kind-of understand how to download each of those webpages, including the images I want, but I'd appreciate clarity on the easiest way to do that.

I have no idea how to easily take 500 folders full of images and turn them into 500 flashcards. There are many flashcard apps, but their documentation seems terrible--do you know one that will take a bunch of folders full of images and turn them into individual flashcards?
posted by agentofselection to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Okay, it looks like Anki might be the go-to programmatic flashcard creation software. I'm now looking into that, but still very interested in suggestions for scraping and re-naming the images.
posted by agentofselection at 1:24 PM on April 1

Anki has good tools for automatically assembling decks of flash cards (and they have a media import tool that will let you bulk-import images) but afaik they can't handle multiple images per card.
posted by Jeanne at 1:26 PM on April 1

Flashcards Deluxe has a lot of configurability. You can check out the documentation here and in the forum linked on that page.
posted by doctord at 2:54 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]

I would be slightly surprised if Anki couldn't do multiple images. The basic layout is a couple of template+html layout for the front/back of the cards and a place for CSS that goes with both. It's pretty much a couple of HTML pages with something like '{{foobar}}' pulled from a column in the database.

The only problem I can see is that each card expects the same columns in the database and uses the same templates so each card has to have the same layout (in this case number of pictures).

You can do Javascript in a template so I guess maybe if you try to get realy fancy you could make that work somehow.



<img src="{{image1}}"> <img src="{{image2}}">


Anki basically works like that. You create a deck, import the CSV, write the front/back/css and presto off you go.

An option would be to download the images per word and then montage them into a single image (or at least a fixed number of images).
posted by zengargoyle at 9:31 PM on April 2

If you also want to parse the web pages before making your file to import into Anki, you might want to check out OpenRefine. You can give it a list of URLs and it will grab those pages and then you can use some pretty easy code snippets to extract various pieces of the page (assuming those pages are all similar). Then you can easily output that into a CSV file that Anki should be able to import.
posted by kristi at 10:39 AM on April 7

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