[Taxacom] Dichotomous key software

Kevin Thiele K.Thiele at cbit.uq.edu.au
Wed Aug 30 19:22:18 CDT 2006

Since others are doing the same thing, the following is a shameless plug:

Phoenix (www.lucidcentral.org) has the following (mostly unique) features:

* Seamless import of existing paper keys - scan your existing key, OCR it to
a text file, then click the Import button. Phoenix will parse and check the
key, then convert it to XML and import it to the Phoenix Builder where it
can be edited or extended

* Full Builder with tools for making keys easy to create - enter your list
of taxa for the key, then start building couplets. The system keeps track of
taxa included/excluded/not dealt with yet for each couplet, providing a
handy was of organising the key

* Full support for graphics - illustrate any couplet lead and taxon, to make
the key easier to use for your users

* Fully cross-platform - both Builder and Player use java, so compatible
with Microsoft/Apple/Unix systems

* Provision for hybrid keys, thus making the most of both pathway-based and
matrix-based keys - for example, create a key to the trees of the US then
attach a small matrix showing the distribution of those trees by State. A
user can then create on-the-fly a key to the trees of Nebraska (or Utah, or
Alaska) - the system filters out all inapplicable taxa and repackages the
key for the taxa remaining

* Player allows skipping of couplets - if you come across an unanswerable
couplet, just skip it - the system will take you down both leads and handle
the bookmarking

* Player maintains "Taxa Remaining" and "Taxa Discarded" lists as the
identification proceeds, so you can see exactly what's still in play without
having to wait to get to "the end"

Cheers - Kevin Thiele

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