Integrating Plant Systematics
Jones, Timothy M. .
Extending the reach of traditional floras through interactive keys.
Traditional floras are regional in scope and include, to varying degrees, descriptions, identification keys, and illustrations. They are also generally presented in book form. The problem is that as the region covered increases in size, the complexity and length of the keys increases – as does the size and cost of the book. Digital technology offers solutions to some parts of this problem. It makes it possible to add more illustrations and more detailed descriptions because printing costs are no long a concern. Experience shows, however, that basing digital, mulitentry keys directly on information in printed descriptions is inadequate. It takes copious testing, revision of the data, and more testing to create an effective digital key. However, if these steps are followed, digital keys can extend the reach of a flora to a wider user group, the major limitation being the required knowledge of the structures involved. Moreover, the number of taxa involved has minimal impact on the complexity of the key and the number of choices required for an identification. In the future, identification keys will be global in scope, richly illustrated, and in a format that the user chooses. Most importantly, they will be less intimidating.
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1 - Utah State University, Biology, 5305 Old Main Hill, Logan, Utah, 84322-5305, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Boulevard C/Hilton
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
Time: 1:45 PM