[Taxacom] favourite online key?

Stinger Stinger at stingersplace.com
Fri Sep 19 12:59:34 CDT 2008

There is a big choice in software and your particular situation will determine that, but the data are always the major expense in these endeavors. On the grass key for example, for species on a global scope, there is the Kew data set already sitting there in Delta but it's copyrighted.  If it's just BC, you might want to consider making a subset of the USDA grass keys (http://npdc.usda.gov/technical/plantid_wetland_mono.html) and just adding the very few if any taxa that would be found only in BC.  I did a similar local subset of a bigger SLIKS key in just a minute or two in front of a room full of botanists at the recent Botany 2008 conference in Vancouver last month and I'll give you or anyone else a little optimization program that takes out unneeded characters in subsetted SLIKS keys. The USDA data and software are free, you can pretty them up as much or more than any other key software (e.g. http://www.stingersplace.com/SLIKS/vancouver/sliks.html) and they run without installing anything (just copying a few files) either on your machine or the server, and run  with or without an internet connection on a lot of cell phones, PDAs, supercomputers etc. as well as PCs.    

>I am looking for suggestions for favourite online or other computer-based identification keys. 
>This is for a new project with the Royal BC Museum (Canada) to create online keys which are primarily aimed at the general >public (or that part of the general public which is interested in species-level identification of their local fauna). The first two projects >are grasses and chitons (polyplacophoran molluscs) -- the idea is to use a platform which can accommodate both of these and >others in future.
>Just to be clear, I am *not* interested in being pointed to software (Lucid, Xper2, etc etc etc) but instead to specific, working and >available examples that you have used and would recommend as a model for presentation and interactivity.
>If you have used a key -- for any group of fauna or flora -- that you would recommend as a model for this project, can you please let >me know?

>Thanks to all in advance!




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