Overview of user interface
The Species File user interface is really three different interfaces: the public read-only interface; the editor interface; and the administrative interface. It is possible to switch between the different interfaces to compare what different user groups see.
Public read-only interface
The public read-only interface. The four main areas are reached from the menu bar at the top of the page.
- Home. This is the "title page" for the website. Links from here reach the following:
- Log on. This is only useful for users who have or wish to have editing access. Enquiries can be made via E-mail.
- Contents of the website. (You are here now.)
- Help for users.
- Information about the database.
- E-mail link for comments.
- Search. The drop down list in the header allows the user to choose among the following types of searches:
- Data source. Selecting a data source will lead to a listing of all data types (images, key, etc.) that use that data source in the database.
- Expert. Expert orthopterists are listed by taxonomic groups or geographical locations compatible with their individual areas of expertise. The user may select a taxon to view the responsible expert, or select an expert to display all taxonomic groups or geographic locations for which the expert is responsible.
- Person. Selecting a person will lead to a list of references contained in the database by that person. Currently, all persons in the database are considered to be authors. Future development will include roles other than author, such as collector, data source, expert, or identifier.
- Publication. Selecting a publication (journal, book, etc.) will lead to a listing of all references in that publication contained in the database.
- Reference. A reference must first be identified by author, publication, and/or date. A specific reference can be selected from a list of those meeting the selected criteria. This leads to a listing of all taxa cited by that reference as recorded in the database.
- Scrutiny. Scrutiny contains an assessment of the information associated with a particular taxon conducted by persons working on this database. Scrutiny information may be selected by individual taxon; or by person(s), date, and/or word(s) contained in the comment field.
- Specimen. Specimens must first be identified by specific taxon, collection location, collection date, and/or specimen depository. A list of available specimens is then displayed. The user may select a specific specimen to view detailed information including identification, locality, collecting event, and specimen-specific data (count, sex, depository, etc.).
- Specimen depository. Selecting a specimen depository (museum, etc.) will lead to a listing of all primary types held by that depository.
- Statistics. Selecting statistics displays the number of authors, references, taxa (according to rank, valid vs. non-valid), images, sounds, keys, among others, currently contained in the database. The user may also request statistics for any valid taxon at the rank of genus or higher.
- Taxon. There are three types of taxon searches: Simple search by name, complex search (allowing specification of author, date, original genus, etc.), and search for binomial and trinomial names including previous combinations. For a complex search, the parameters may be used individually or in any combination.
- Taxa. This lists the current taxon with the three next higher taxa above it plus taxa at three or fewer levels below it. Clicking on any other taxon will refresh the page with the newly selected taxon as current. The "Change items displayed" button in the header allows the user to specify how much and what kinds of data will be displayed. Some caution is necessary because selecting too much data will cause slow response from the database.
- Key. This allows entry to a key at the point of the current taxon if such a key exists. It also contains a list of other available keys.
The editing interface (restricted to authorized users). Choices include:
- Turn edit links on or off. When on, many links are inserted into the read only interface to provide quick access to specific types of editing. In addition, IDs (numbers that are used in the database for the many cross relationships among the tables) are displayed beside the names of taxa, people, publications, references, data sources and type depositories. This is useful in debugging the software.
- Specify a default reference. This avoids the need to respecify the reference many times while entering data from a particular reference, which may describe multiple new taxa and make multiple other changes in the taxonomic hierarchy.
- Specify a default scrutiny. Similar to the default reference, the default scrutiny allows the user to specify the same scrutiny for multiple taxa.
- Specify a default data source. Also similar to the default reference, the default data source allows the user to specify the same source when entering multiple images, specimen data, or information pertaining to keys without having to respecify the source each time.
- Various kinds of changes relating to the current taxon. The array of choices offered is customized to match the rank and status (valid, synonym, nomen dubium, etc.) of the current taxon. Entry of a single change may affect many taxa such as when a genus is moved to a different tribe. The program prevents changes that conflict with rules of nomenclature.
- Add, edit or delete a publication, reference, person, website, specimen depository, or data source.
- Browse or edit image types.
- Modify the list of languages (used for common names).
- Interact with the key.
The administrative interface (restricted to persons developing and maintaining the website). Choices include:
- Toggle between edit and admin mode. Most administrative functions are found on the Admin menu; however, there are some extra features available in other programs that become available to users with admin priveleges.
- Select an object by entering its ID.
- Compare two objects identified by IDs. This is used to compare two objects and to delete one if judged to be an unnecessary duplicate object (different spelling, abbreviations, errors, etc.)
- Show or purge edit logs.
- There are several different programs that can be executed to test the internal consistency of the data and its conformance with rules of nomenclature.
- There are several programs that allow an administrator to assign experts, deal with high level taxa, and update information about the database among others.
- Display the current values of session variables. (Variables for a specific session of a specific user.)