Intkey and LucID
miked at ento.csiro.au
Thu Mar 20 07:00:38 CET 1997
- From: Kevin Thiele via David Yeates
> Please note ... that the DELTA team have carefully dissected a
> six-month old beta- test version of Lucid, and found it lacking.
As I have mentioned several times, we used the latest generally
available version of LucID. We did attempt to obtain a later version;
here is the response (in part).
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 1997 13:21:01 +1000
The LucID Player version 1.0 which includes a key to the Orders of
Insects is due for release shortly. A DEMONSTRATION VERSION OF
THIS KEY IS AVAILABLE FROM OUR WEBSITE [my emphasis].
> I also think I should make it clear that Lucid is more than a key. One
> of its uses could be as an electronic publishing platform -
> monographs, floras etc could be published entirely in Lucid.
.From David Yeates' original posting:
Don't forget that DELTA is basically a data-organising program for
taxonomy, and the interactive keying component is a small
appendage. LucID is a dedicated interactive key system.
> But what about when the construction of the character states
> themselves is problematic. I first came across this when trying to
> capture the diversity of indumentum types in the plant family
> Rhamnaceae onto DELTA. For a description, I'd like to use the rich and
> varied terminology available to me - I can call leaves pubescent,
> hirsute, tomentose, pilose, scabrous, even subvelutinulous, by crikey.
> These terms describe subtle variations, and are perfectly appropriate
> in a description, because a reader of a description, holding a plant,
> could read "Leaves subvelutinulous..." and could look at the specimen
> and say "Yep, that fits". But a key user who has to decide whether
> their specimen is subvelutinulous or shortly hirsute will be in deep
> When I came across this problem, two solutions were proposed to me by
> experienced DELTA users: (1) maybe we shouldn't use terms like
> subvelutinulous at all, ever (a case of cutting the man to fit the
> cloth, perhaps even with Orwellian overtones), or (2) double-up on
> some characters in the database, and use one of the pair for the
> description and one from the key. Twice the coding for these
> characters, and you basically end up with two databases that just
> happen to be merged into one structure.
Subtle differences between character states certainly can cause problems
when used in classification and in conventional keys. If such a
character is to be used for these purposes, groups of states can be
combined into new states (the CONFOR directive KEY STATES carries out
this function). If simple merging of states is inadequate, then there is
really no option but to record the information twice (even if keys and
descriptions are being constructed by hand).
Another way of handling this problem is to record the subtle information
as comments attached to a character with more broadly defined states.
The use of subtle distinctions between character states need not cause
any problem in interactive identification. If the user cannot decide
whether a specimen is subvelutinulous or shortly hirsute, it is simply a
matter of selecting both states.
> I admit that there are plenty of characters where this problem doesn't
> arise, but the problem still exists.
So, is it better to tackle the occasional problem character by one of
the methods above, which might involve 'repetition' of a small amount of
information; or treat classification, identification, and description as
separate processes, and 'repeat' most of the information?
> DELTA stores a taxon x character matrix. ... Lucid stores a taxon x
> state matrix.
This frequently made assertion is meaningless. The facts are that: (a)
DELTA stores an unlimited amount of uncoded (i.e. text) qualifying
information with each character state; (b) LucID stores a small, fixed
amount (1 byte per state?) of coded qualifying information with each
character state; (c) Intkey stores no qualifying information with each
state (1 bit per state).
The new DELTA system will store various types of coded as well as
uncoded qualifying information with each state (see proposals on the
Net). In due course, Intkey will also be modified to use this
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Email md at ento.csiro.au Phone +61 6 246 4075 Fax +61 6 246 4000
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