Getting started with the Interactive Key
- Before you start
- How the key works
- Choose a subset
- Open/close Feature Thumbnails
- Selecting feature states
- The wand
- Undo selection
- Factsheets (family synopses)
- Other features and details
Familiarise yourself with the toolbar options and consult the help menu to clarify any queries.
The key works by a process of elimination. Featues (characters) and their states (options) are displayed on the left of the screen. Each time you select one of the states, the key eliminates entities (families) from the right. To view the options for the characters and their states, click on the + signs at the left of the list. To view all the states and characters at once, click the button below:
The subsets permit the user to choose which version of Neotropikey best suits their material and/or their skill level, and to eliminate irrelevent features.. The non-expert user option simplifies some of the characters comprehensible only to a trained botanist.
This allows the user to have the option of seeing an image of the Features Available (both line-drawings and photographs are offered). By default the entities (families) apopoear with images, but these can similarly be switched off to create a more compact list..
To see the thumbnail images at full size (accompanied by a more detailed explanation of the characters), click on the small arrow sign at the bottom right-hand corner of the image.
Simply click on the chosen Feature State - this will discard all entities not containing this state.
When using Neotropikey with the thumbnails closed, simply tick the adjacent box.
Using the 'wand' icon automatically selects the best Feature for separating the remaining families in the list.
If you want to remove a Feature State just right-click on the character or un-tick the box. It will go grey and will be discounted from the results.
For most families, links are provided alongside their names. Clicking on these links will open the family synopses in another page of your browser.
Some of these family synopses provide dichotomous keys to Neotropical genera.
Once you have made a positive identification or wish to go back and start again, simply click the restart button.
Other options are available from the menu. The best way to learn about these is to use the main Lucid Help pages. These include:
Allowing misinterpretations (advisable unless you are absolutely sure of your botany!)
Pruning redundant features so that you are only seeing the ones that will help distinguish the remaining families
Listing the differences between the remaining familes