BEGINNERS’ INSTRUCTIONS: Using the dictionary 101

BEGINNERS’ INSTRUCTIONS: Using the dictionary 101 - Southern Africa : iSpot has an impressive dictionary and it gets better all the time. Apart from having scientific names for southern African Plants, Animals and Moulds, it also has synonyms and common names. Some things to note: * The plants list is extremely compreh

iSpot has an impressive dictionary and it gets better all the time.
Apart from having scientific names for southern African Plants, Animals and Moulds, it also has synonyms and common names.

Some things to note:
* The plants list is extremely comprehensive and has common names, synonyms and everything.
* Higher animals are all on, but not all synonyms are loaded, nor are all known common names loaded
* Apart from moths, butterflies, dragonflies and beetles, the insect data are spotty.
* The fungal data are dated and we are awaiting the compilation of the modern lists.

How to use the dictionary when making an ID.

Click on "Add an ID" or "Add a revised ID"

In the scientific name add a few key letters - you dont have to type the whole name: for instance instead of
Protea cynaroides, just type "prot cyn"
Telescopus semiannulatus subsp. semiannulatus, just type "tel semi se"

iSpot will load all matches from the dictionary.
If there are more than 12 then add a letter or two to narrow the options.

This allows you at a glance to see:
* are there possible alternatives
* are there subspecies or varieties to consider

Merely click on the name you want to get iSpot to load it.

This saves you:
* spelling mistakes
* formatting mistakes
* capitalization mistakes (Genus always proper, species always lower)
* time!!

Remember to click "Get recommended" to check if the name is current (your field guide may be out of date!!).
If there is a Common Name, iSpot will suggest them to you as well. Click on the one you want, or close the box if you dont want to use any, or if you have already typed a name you want.

In fact, you can use this in reverse: If you know your observation is a
Ladybird
Cape Cobra
Fiscal Shrike
King Protea
then type them in the common name (you can also use the few letters trick to save typing), and use "Get Recommended" for the Scientific name.

You will know iSpot is happy with your ID (she does not know if the ID is correct, only that it is in her dictionary) if she provides you with:
* a link to Wiki
* a link to Encyclopaedia of Life
* a Red List link (for plants only at present)
* a Taxi Rank (in the top right hand column) showing you the higher classification to your name - each is clickable and will open up all observations on iSpot in that group.
* a carousel of other observations of that name (if there are any)
* a carousel of any other organisms that interact with this (if there are any)
* and your scientific name will be in blue - meaning that you can click on it to open the collection of observations for your name.

All this is managed by the dictionary.

choose you certainty
save by uploading your ID.

You can even use this as a tool to help with ID - just dont save the ID: you can then look up things from any observation - even an unrelated one: just remember not to save.

If you find any mistakes in the dictionary - remember the dictionary is ours and compiled and updated by users - please report them at the dictionary forum (or www.ispot.org.za/dictionary_updates)

30 Apr 2014
Tony Rebelo