iSpot Dictionary Edition 2

iSpot Dictionary Edition 2 - Southern Africa : The iSpot dictionary is now updated and tested. Three significant additions will affect us: * It now includes Fungi. While this is a great step forward, it is not the final list by far. No synonyms are distinguished and it is just

The iSpot dictionary is now updated and tested.

Three significant additions will affect us:

* It now includes Fungi. While this is a great step forward, it is not the final list by far. No synonyms are distinguished and it is just the names recorded in southern Africa to date. An especial thanks to Marlandza and David Minter, for providing links and lists. There are several national groups looking at this and we hope to have the current names and synonyms sorted as an official list of Fungi within a few years.

* It now includes synonyms to Plants. Thus you can type in an old name that you remember and click on “Get recommended” and iSpot will update the Scientific name for you if it is old. Unfortunately, the dictionary does not tell you when a name is old or new, which is a major problem – so it is probably wise to always click “Get recommended” for any name.

* It now includes common names to Plants and some animals and higher taxonomic names. This is a significant database, but is probably only a small selection of names in use in the country. If you know of any other names, please add them to your observations. You dont have to use the names suggested by the dictionary: in fact, we would prefer if it you insert the names that you actually use.

This means that all the errors in names you have identified in the previous version have been addressed. Many thanks for your contributions.

Also we now have far more species for invertebrates, and a much deeper invertebrates taxonomy. Remember that any species linked to taxonomy (easily identifiable by the EoL link in the ID and the “Taxonomic links” in the right margin) is now easily searchable by a variety of means (see below). So ID as detailed as you can and the experts will be able to see it easily if it is linked to the taxonomy.

Although many users are unaware of the taxonomy it is extremely useful. For instance:

* Learn about relationships. All the names in the “Taxonomic links” are clickable (in fact, anything in blue on iSpot either opens a link or does something). So you can look at relative taxa (at any rank from species through families and orders to groups) just by clicking on the names. When you do so a window will open showing all observations, but also showing more taxonomy above, and a childs group below: click on these (they are in blue) to navigate around the taxonomy.

* It is also useful for searches:
To see any record of a taxon, use the “Taxonomic links” or the following formats (#### = the name):
** search for observations: http://www.ispot.org.za/species_dictionary/####**search for observations sorted by species: http://www.ispot.org.za/search/species_dictionary/#### (careful with the really large groups, it can take a while) Recommended method for systematic searching

* Its also useful for finding current names – type/click in the name you know and hit “Get recommended” and it will appear (you don’t have to save, and you are not obliged to use the current name if you don’t want to, although it will help in linking your observation to other observations).

* Find common names (if they exist). Fill in the Scientific Name and hit “Get recommended” and the common name will be filled in for you (if you don’t like it, or don’t like the Proper Noun format, then edit it). If there is more than one you can choose one (or reject them all and fill in your name).

* And of course, the most useful feature of the dictionary is that is allows you to type a few letters (five, at least, as a recommendation) and after a short breather iSpot will give you all your options.

There are some issues:

* The dictionary presents all names, not just the current names, so beware when using it for plants. I am hoping to have a switch so that you can choose “All Names” or “Current Names” by early next year. Until then, please check by pressing “Get recommended”

* The dictionary search ( http://www.ispot.org.za/search/species_dictionary/####) can take a tad long for the really big taxa with lots of species. So careful with Erica (there are 1000 current names!) and those big genera.

* iSpot does not (yet) automatically update old names to new names for observations already in the database. We will sort this out in the new year.

* the option of entering a common name and getting the recommended scientific name is not consistently working. We will sort this out in the new year.

If you find any errors or wish to update a name or have a recommendation, please do so at http://www.ispot.org.za/dictionary_updates

31 Aug 2012
Tony Rebelo