Flowing of descriptions in Intkey

Mike Dallwitz m.dallwitz at NETSPEED.COM.AU
Thu Oct 13 09:22:29 CEST 2005


- From: Nicholas Lander
- To: Mike Dallwitz

>> We planned to implement fully featured generation of 
>> natural-language descriptions in the next major version of 
>> Intkey, which would have used DELTA-Editor files directly, 
>> instead of the special Intkey files ichars and iitems.
>
> Surely it is possible to create reasonably well-formed descriptions 
> within the Advanced mode of Intkey. And these can be based on a 
> selected list of characters.

The descriptions generated by the current version of Intkey aren't too 
bad. They include text characters, headings, division into paragraphs, 
omission of 'or' between states (e.g. in geographical distributions), 
omission of full stops (periods) at the ends of sentences (e.g. in 
synonymy), and display of bold and italic text. But they lack the 
following features of descriptions generated by Confor.

1. Linking of characters into sentences, with omission of repeated words.
2. Omission of implicit values.
3. Comments in multistate and numeric characters.
4. Use of the separators 'and' and 'to' in multistate characters.
5. Repeated values (usually associated with the separator 'and').
6. Non-ascending order of state values.
7. Distinguishing 'normal' from 'extreme' values in numeric characters.
8. Emphasis of 'features'.
9. Omission of the space before the units in numeric characters.
10. Omission of the lower values of a range in numeric characters.
11. Specification of the number of decimal places in numeric characters.

These features could not be implemented with the current Intkey data 
format, because the required information is not stored. Also, the new 
DELTA format used in the DELTA Editor has features, such as more 
flexible placement of comments, that would improve descriptions.

Some of these points are illustrated in the following examples taken 
from 'The Families of Flowering Plants' 
(http://delta-intkey.com/angio/index.htm). A description generated by 
Lucid is also included.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
The relevant part of the DELTA description. Comments in square brackets 
have been added.
----------------------------------------
# Acanthaceae <Juss.>/
3<\i{}Justiciaceae\i0{} Rafin., \i{}Thomandersiaceae\i0{} Sreemadhavan>
4<\i{}Nelsoniaceae\i0{}, \i{}Mendonciaceae\i0{}, \i{}Thunbergiaceae\i0{}>
[comment and order of values:] 5,3/5/1<<10%> rarely> [6,3 is implicit]
9,1/2<<10%> rarely> 12,1<usually>/2<<10%>> [13,1 14,2 15,1 are implicit]
...
272,2<usually exserted, the filaments inserted on the corolla tube> 274,1/2
275,1/2 276<when coherent,>,2<partially connate, in pairs> 277,1
279,1<rarely, e.g. \i{}Pentstemonacanthus\i0{}>/2 280<when present,>,1-3
281,2 282,1/1&2/3<<1%>> [separator '&', repeated values, and order of
values:] 284,3/2&3<commonly>/2<<1.5%> \i{}Brillantaisia\i0{} only> [extreme
value and order of values:] 285,4(-5)/2
...

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Part of a description generated by Confor. Although Confor can generate 
partial descriptions (i.e. using any subset of the characters), only the 
full description is available from Intkey. Here the unwanted parts have 
been deleted manually. Bold and italics are visible in Intkey, but 
aren't shown here.
----------------------------------------
Acanthaceae Juss.
    Including Justiciaceae Rafin., Thomandersiaceae Sreemadhavan
    Excluding Nelsoniaceae, Mendonciaceae, Thunbergiaceae
    Habit and leaf form. Shrubs, or herbs, or trees (rarely). ‘Normal’ 
plants, or switch-plants (rarely). Leaves well developed (usually), or 
much reduced. ...
    Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. ... Androecial members
adnate (usually exserted, the filaments inserted on the corolla tube); 
all equal, or markedly unequal; free of one another, or coherent; when 
coherent, 2 adelphous (partially connate, in pairs); 1 whorled. 
Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens (rarely, e.g. 
Pentstemonacanthus), or including staminodes. Staminodes when present, 
1–3; in the same series as the fertile stamens; representing the 
posterior median member, or the posterior median member and the 
posterior-lateral pair, or the anterior-lateral pair. Fertile stamens 
representing the anterior-lateral pair, or the posterior-lateral pair 
and the anterior-lateral pair (commonly), or the posterior-lateral pair 
(Brillantaisia only). Stamens 4(–5), or 2. ...

------------------------------------------------------------------------
A partial description generated by Intkey. The settings are: 'Display 
unknowns off', 'Display inapplicables off', and 'Display numbering off', 
which are the Intkey defaults. Bold and italics are visible in Intkey, 
but aren't shown here.
----------------------------------------
    Acanthaceae Juss.
    Including Justiciaceae Rafin., Thomandersiaceae Sreemadhavan
    Excluding Nelsoniaceae, Mendonciaceae, Thunbergiaceae
    Habit and leaf form. Trees; or shrubs; or herbs. Non-laticiferous and 
without coloured juice. ‘Normal’ plants; or switch-plants. Leaves well 
developed; or much reduced. Plants with roots. Plants non-succulent. 
Plants autotrophic.
    Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Androecial members 
adnate. Androecial members free of the gynoecium. Androecial members all 
equal; or markedly unequal. Androecial members free of one another; or 
coherent. Androecial members 2 adelphous. Androecial members 1 whorled. 
Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens; or including staminodes. 
Staminodes 1–3. Staminodes in the same series as the fertile stamens. 
Staminodes representing the posterior median member; or the 
posterior-lateral pair; or the anterior-lateral pair. Staminodes 
non-petaloid. Fertile stamens representing the posterior-lateral pair; 
or the anterior-lateral pair. Stamens 2; or 4–5.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Another partial description generated by Intkey. The settings are: 
'Display unknowns on', 'Display inapplicables on', and 'Display 
numbering on'. Bold and italics are visible in Intkey, but aren't shown 
here. Long lines are wrapped tidily in Intkey, but this doesn't transfer 
properly to email, so it's been done manually here.
----------------------------------------
1. Acanthaceae Juss.
    1. Alternatively (alternative family names) not recorded
    2. ~ (Sensu lato family to which sometimes referred (see Notes)) not
         recorded
    3. Including Justiciaceae Rafin., Thomandersiaceae Sreemadhavan
    4. Excluding Nelsoniaceae, Mendonciaceae, Thunbergiaceae
    Habit and leaf form.
    5. Habit: (1) trees; or (3) shrubs; or (5) herbs.
    6. Stems and/or leaves, whether noticeably laticiferous etc. (a ‘casual’
         character - see ‘laticifers’): (3) non-laticiferous and without
         coloured juice.
    7. Essential oils in vegetative parts: not recorded.
    8. Vegetative parts, whether resinous: not recorded.
    9. Plant form: whether ‘normal’, ‘switch’ or very peculiar: (1) ‘normal’
         plants; or (2) switch-plants.
    10. Switch-plant type: not recorded.
    11. Nature of ‘very peculiar vegetative morphology’: not applicable.
    12. Leaves (1) well developed; or (2) much reduced.
    13. Plants (1) with roots.
    14. Plants (2) non-succulent.
    15. Plants (1) autotrophic.
    16. Parasitic on (host parts) not applicable.
    17. Trapping mechanism (whether active or passive) not applicable.
    18. The traps (type) not applicable.
    Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology.
    272. Androecial members (2) adnate.
    273. Androecial members (2) free of the gynoecium.
    274. Androecial members (1) all equal; or (2) markedly unequal.
    275. Androecial members (1) free of one another; or (2) coherent.
    276. Androecial members 2 adelphous (when applicable).
    277. Androecial members 1 whorled.
    278. The androecial bundles (position relative to the corolla members)
         not recorded.
    279. Androecium (1) exclusively of fertile stamens; or (2) including
         staminodes.
    280. Staminodes 1–3 (when applicable).
    281. Staminodes (2) in the same series as the fertile stamens (when
         applicable).
    282. Staminodes representing (1) the posterior median member; or (2) the
         posterior-lateral pair; or (3) the anterior-lateral pair (when
         applicable).
    283. Staminodes (2) non-petaloid (when applicable).
    284. Fertile stamens representing (2) the posterior-lateral pair; or (3)
         the anterior-lateral pair.
    285. Stamens 2/4–5.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Part of a description generated by Lucid2. Text characters aren't 
supported. Bold and italics can't be displayed in internally generated 
descriptions. Partial descriptions can't be generated, so here the 
unwanted parts have been deleted manually. Long lines aren't wrapped, so 
here they've been wrapped manually.

Lucid3 can't generate descriptions.
----------------------------------------
Acanthaceae <Juss.> has been scored as follows:

<habit>:
    trees
    shrubs <currently including ‘subshrubs’>
    herbs

<stems and/or leaves, whether noticeably laticiferous etc. - a ‘casual’
       character - see ‘laticifers’>:
    non-laticiferous and without coloured juice

<essential oils in vegetative parts>:
    scored as uncertain for bearing essential oils
    scored as uncertain for without essential oils

<vegetative parts, whether resinous>:
    scored as uncertain for resinous
    scored as uncertain for not resinous

<plant form - whether ‘normal’, ‘switch’ or very peculiar>:
    ‘normal’ plants <with more or less normal stems, leaves and roots>
    switch-plants <with leaves more or less reduced, the leaf blade
       functions transferred to specialized stems and/or petioles>

<switch-plant type>:
    scored as uncertain for with the principal photosynthesizing function
       transferred to <non-succulent> stems <including phylloclades and
       cladodes>
    scored as uncertain for phyllodineous <with flattened petioles>
    scored as uncertain for ‘cactoid’ <with succulent, photosynthetic stems>

leaves <presence>:
    well developed
    much reduced

plants <mature, whether with roots>:
    with roots

plants <succulence>:
    non-succulent

<plants, nutrition>:
    autotrophic

...

androecial members <of male-fertile flowers, insertion>:
    adnate <i.e. to the perianth, including perigone tube>

androecial members <of male-fertile flowers, whether united with the
       gynoecium>:
    free of the gynoecium

androecial members <of male-fertile flowers, relative in situ lengths>:
    all equal
    markedly unequal

androecial members <of male-fertile flowers, freedom>:
    free of one another
    coherent <state how>

androecial members <of male-fertile flowers, manner of coherence>:
    2

androecial members <of male-fertile flowers, number of whorls - ‘many’
       encoded as ‘to 15 or more’>:
    1

the androecial bundles <position relative to the corolla members>:
    scored as uncertain for alternating with the corolla members
    scored as uncertain for opposite the corolla members

androecium <of male-fertile flowers, presence of staminodes>:
    exclusively of fertile stamens
    including staminodes

staminodes <of male-fertile flowers, number - ‘many’ encoded as ‘to 50 or
       more’>:
    1-3

staminodes <position relative to the fertile stamens>:
    in the same series as the fertile stamens

staminodes representing <Lamiiflorae etc. - position>:
    the posterior <posticous, adaxial> median member
    the posterior-lateral <posticous-, adaxial-lateral> pair
    the anterior-lateral <anterior-, abaxial-lateral> pair

staminodes <of male-fertile flowers, form>:
    non-petaloid

fertile stamens representing <Lamiiflorae etc. - position when some
       androecial members may be sterile or lacking>:
    the posterior-lateral <posticous-, adaxial-lateral> pair
    the anterior-lateral <anterior-, abaxial-lateral> pair

stamens <fertile, number - ‘many’ encoded as ‘to 100 or more’>:
    4(-5)/2

...

------------------------------------------------------------------------

-- 
Mike Dallwitz
Contact information: http://delta-intkey.com/contact/dallwitz.htm
DELTA home page: http://delta-intkey.com



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