|Identification is a multiple-entry key based on a matrix of "objects" (species and higher groups) and character states. The matrix defines each object as a series of character states. For example, the definition for an object with green eyes and four legs would contain the state "green" for the character "eyes," and the state 4 for the character "number of legs."|
In this section, you can identify a specimen by entering a "search pattern" that describes it as a series of character states. Identification then compares the search pattern to the objects in the current file and tells you the percentage match for each, so that you can find out which object is the closest match to your specimen.
The name of the current identify file is shown in the popup menu at the top right corner of the menu bar at the top. If the matrix data is split over several files, the "main file" is automatically shown. You can switch files by selecting a different file from the popup menu. Beware however that if you have created a search pattern, it will be lost when a different file is selected!
Modes. Identification operates in three different modes:
- Identify -- create a search pattern to find out which object(s) most closely match your specimen
- Examine -- examine the character states of an object in the current identify file
- Compare -- compare the character states of an object in the current identify file to another object in the file
Click on the "tabs" in the menu bar at the top to switch from one mode to another.
Identifying. Click on a character in the top left field, and then click on one or several character states in the list below. If a selected state is linked to a multimedia file, that file will be automatically shown. When you choose a numerical character (Range or Distribution), you must enter a value between the minimum and maximum value given. When you choose a distribution, you also have to select the standard width from the popup menu.
Your search pattern can be constructed from several characters. If you have selected incorrect states, you can "deselect" all states belonging to a character by clicking Clear in the menu bar at the bottom. Clear all clears the entire search pattern. Click Search to start the identification process.
In the Identification screen, the field on the left now contains the search pattern, i.e., the character states which you have so far defined. The field on the right lists all objects in the current file, along with the "hit" percentage for each, i.e., the match percentage based on the search pattern. You can jump to the page in the taxonomic databases (Species and Higher groups) by double-clicking on its name in the list of objects. If the object name is followed by >>, double-clicking will instead open another identify file.
Examining an object. Choose the object that you want to examine by selecting a name from the popup menu in the menu bar at the bottom. The character states for the selected object will now be listed in the field.
Comparing two objects. Choose the objects that you want to compare by selecting them from the popup menus in the menu bar at the bottom. The field will now display the character states for the both objects.