HTML formatting of keys

Kevin Thiele K.Thiele at CBIT.UQ.EDU.AU
Fri Jul 23 07:20:18 CDT 2004

Hi Susan,

You may like to check out Lucid Phoenix (, a
new Lucid program designed specifically for deploying dichotomous keys to
the web.

I agree with you completely that deploying dichotomous keys is very
worthwhile - comments to the effect of "why would you want to do this when
there are now interactive matrix players" are frustrating - there are many
good dichotomous keys around and they need to be quickly and easily
value-added, not entirely replaced. Note also that dichotomous keys are
superior to random-access keys in some respects anyway.

Using Phoenix you can import an existing key (save as text file if you have
an electronic version, or scan and OCR if it's a printed key) very quickly.
The Phoenix Builder will parse the key and mark it up into an XML file. Most
keys can come in with very little work - coupleted keys almost always work
OK; for indented keys you may need to add couplet numbers (if the key does
not have them) and couplet gotos. Once in the Builder the key can be
deployed to the web easily.

Phoenix dichotomous keys can also have images and html pages attached to the
leads and taxa. In the Phoenix Player is a Skip button for use when you have
an unanswerable couplet. And you may attach a matrix to the key (e.g. taxa x
distribution) that can be used to filter the key to create subkeys on the

The Phoenix Player is a java applet that works through your web browser (so
you must have the Java Runtime Engine). There is an example of a Lucid
Phoenix key at

Cheers - Kevin Thiele

-----Original Message-----
From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU] On Behalf
Of Susan Farmer
Sent: Wednesday, 21 July 2004 3:47 AM
Subject: [TAXACOM] HTML formatting of keys

Has there been any work with XML or CSS to format dichotomous keys on
a web site so that they look more "key-ish" than just straight text
or formatting the various pieces parts in a series of table columns
(number, text, result)?

I haven't stayed current on HTML/XML/CSS developments.

Susan Farmer
sfarmer at
Botany Department, University of Tennessee

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