Lucid 3.3 now available as a free download!!!

December 23, 2009 at 10:33 am | Posted in Forum | 6 Comments

It looks like the folk over at Lucid have decided to go with the Freemium model by offering Lucid 3.3 as a free download, while their feature rich flagship 3.5 version is available as a fully supported paid download. I think this is a brilliant move on their part and will see much more widespread adoption of their software. For more information see their announcement.


New Web Based Lucid Key Player available

October 26, 2007 at 2:34 pm | Posted in IdentifyLife, Interactive Key, LUCID, Tools | 3 Comments

The team developing Lucid over at CBIT have been hard at work! They’ve developed an AJAX based Lucid key player that can be installed on a web server, and are looking for people to test it.

Here’s the message I received from them:

A new online player for Lucid3 keys (including SDD compatible keys) has been developed by the CBIT Lucid team. Since this online player is instantly accessible, it will be a much more attractive option for delivering identification keys across the Internet, especially for such users as ecologists, farmers and students .

We plan to release this player early next year, once some additional features have been developed. In the meantime, we are providing you and other colleagues with access to a number of existing Lucid3 keys that we have deployed on the Internet using this new player. Apart from providing a demonstration of the online player, we also would greatly appreciate any feedback you can provide on its performance – did you experience any problems, do you have suggestions on how the player might be improved?

The following link will take you to an Introduction screen, which provides further information about the online player as well as access to a number of demonstration keys.

Next Meeting – Friday 20th April 10:00 am

April 4, 2007 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Forum | Leave a comment

The next meeting of the kikForum will be on Friday 20th April, 10:00 to 12:00 in the Pat Brenan Suite. Stuart Cable will give a talk on Probablistic Identification. We would also like to discuss what sort of keys / key projects Kew should/can develop. Any other suggestions are welcome.

Issues arising from last meeting

  • Standard data formats
    While DELTA is both a standard and a software suite, CSIRO has withdrawn support and frozen development of this tool. DELTA still has the advantage that it is used natively by a number of Key tools and can be imported into Lucid format, while it is not easy to reverse this process. The 'new' TDWG standard, SDD is xml based and supports all of the necessary DELTA directives as well as a number of new features. SDD is however only supported by Lucid and the EFG project at the moment, but being an open standard it is hoped that it will gain a stronger foothold.
  • Need for generic tools for Kew
    One of the presentations involved a map of Madagascar for choosing distribution and comments were raised at how this would be a really useful feature for all of Kew’s key projects and this raised the issue of reusable standard characters & states that apply across keys at Kew. The Malesian key project has had a number of characters and states illustrated and Kew holds the copyright for these and they are available for use. Other possible tools / data sources that would be useful in this respect include images from TOAD and specimen records from Herbcat.
  • Extracting data from existing/developing data sources
    Extracting data from the some of Kew’s growing data sources such as the eFloras databases is possible but it does take a certain amount of manipulation to massage data into the right formats. This effort is however nowhere near as great as 'recoding' the data from original texts.

Global Carex interactive key

January 19, 2007 at 11:34 am | Posted in Interactive Key, Links, LUCID | Leave a comment

The Global Carex interactive key has recently been pointed out to me. Take a look at it at:

Hoping I may have this link added to your site – it is a draft global key to Carex. Please take a look at It updates frequently and it (the data set) is approximately three years old.

Overview of interactive keys – Provided by Gregor Hagedorn

January 12, 2007 at 2:57 pm | Posted in Biodiversity Informatics, Comparison, Tools | 4 Comments

Many thanks go to who has agreed for us to reproduce this text.
The following is a summary of discussions at a BGBM Seminar (Berlin) on 5.Dec.2006. It is placed here under Creative Commons licences 2.5. By placing it here it is hoped that the ideas and notes may be useful to others. Please note, however, that the list of programs is neither complete nor are the feature lists complete. The main aim of the seminar was to sharpen the actual requirements for programs within the EDIT project, and to narrow down the choice of programs to be further evaluated. In addition to interactive identification, other important considerations were possibility to link into taxonomic databases, creation of natural language descriptions, and use in phylogenetic or other data analysis.

Note: if you find any errors or omissions, please annotate or correct them! Please leave comments below and we will incorporate as many changes as possible

Pure Multiple Entry keys (optimized for this)

These tend to be good for the narrow identification purpose, but achieve this by focussing and ignoring other purposes (data management, using data for natural language descriptions, keys, or analysis purposes).

ETI Linneaeus II/III (Netherlands)

  • Authoring system (originally for CDs) for text, images, literature, etc.
  • Model: “Write this in Word, we will convert this into authoring system”
  • Structured descriptive data appear only in the form of a plugin:
    • NEXUS-Based multiple entry key, no text, no continuous data (leaf length)
      Platforms: Mac and Windows

Lucid (CBIT, Australia, Queensland)

  • Optimized multiple entry key
  • No text, but some continuous data support (Min, Range, Max)
  • Has limited annotations on character data
  • Taxa are strings
  • Has own format (Lucid Interchange format), Import/Limited export of DELTA data (partial), NEW: SDD support
  • Important: Has Builder and Player, Player is free, Builder costs
  • Moore Foundation has paid 400 licenses for developing countries and workshops
  • Closed Source software
  • Platforms: Java, it can run locally as well as over the web.


  • Optimized multiple entry key
  • No text, no continuous data support, no annotations (?)
  • Taxa are strings
  • Has own format (XPer), concrete PLANS for SDD
  • Online web-based editor!
  • Open Source software
  • Platforms: Java, it can run locally as well as over the web.

Descriptive tools for dichotomous/polytomous keys

  • Not supported by any of above
  • Special tool: Lucid/CBIT Phoenix is good for reengineering existing printed keys
  • From below: CSIRO DELTA (and Pankey)

General purpose descriptive tools

Pankey for DOS (UK)

No longer under ongoing development, not further considered.

CSIRO DELTA (Australia)

  • Support all of categorical, continous (Min, lower Range, Mean/Single, upper Range, Max) and text data
  • Supports generating “natural language” descriptions, has ID-key (“Intkey”).
  • DOS-versions (and thin Windows shell)
  • New Delta matrix (full Windows)
  • Oldest, very capable & well tested, often complicated system (often requires writing batch command files)
  • Has NEXUS export support
  • Closed Source software
  • Platforms: DOS, Windows
  • Many software products are shells for the CSIRO DELTA programs.

DeltaAccess (Germany)

  • Support all of categorical, continous and text data
  • Support 98% of DELTA (import/export)
  • Goes beyond DELTA, which can only partly be exported back to DELTA
  • Has editor but originally analysis software
  • Has fairly reliable own natural language description algorithm
  • Has an Multiple Entry key “demonstration” (primarily intended as search engine analysis!)
  • Web-based identication by export to DELTA, and e.g. Navikey!
  • Does not support reduction of characters to those diagnostic.
    • can be done by export to DELTA-> CSIRO DELTA
  • SDD supports is planned (needs funding!)
  • Open Source software
  • Platform: Windows: MS Access


Mesquite (successor of MacClade)

  • NEXUS based, intended for phylogenetic work
  • Very good if phylogenetics is primary goal.
  • Open Source software
  • Platform: JAVA-based

EFG (Electronic field guide)

  • producing SDD editor, including NEXUS import

Biolink (Australia, Steve Shattuck)

  • Whole suite of components for all kinds of biodiversity software, containing a unique approach to descriptive data (free text with inserted coded data).
  • GH has no hands-on-experience, current status not known – website disappeared.
  • Closed source. Earlier versions were commercial, but no probably still freeware/letterware.
  • Platform: Windows

A good overview (although not always complete and current) can be found at the
Digital Taxonomy Website

Creative Commons License

Presentations Online

December 12, 2006 at 6:30 pm | Posted in Mini Symposium | Leave a comment

All of the presentations for the first KikForum have been uploaded and you can view/download them from the abstracts of each of the talks.

Links for Demonstration Sessions

December 10, 2006 at 12:25 am | Posted in Links, Mini Symposium | Leave a comment


December 7, 2006 at 4:34 pm | Posted in Agenda | Leave a comment

The Agenda has been finalised. You can view the agenda by clicking on this link.

The Malesian Key Project

December 7, 2006 at 3:59 pm | Posted in Agenda | Leave a comment

Author: Rogier de Kok

The making of an interactive key has tree distinct phases, definition of characters and their states, character coding and the testing of the key. The character coding is the easiest and least time-consuming of the whole process, while the fist and third phases are often under estimated, both time-wise and in the complexity of the process. Two case studies are presented, the pea-key, a corroborative project dealing with a pea-flowering legumes of Australia (c. 1400 species) and the Malesian Seed Plant key a corroborative project dealing with the c. 350 families from the Flora Malesiana region.
View Presentation

From Floras to Interactive Keys

December 7, 2006 at 2:55 pm | Posted in Agenda | Leave a comment

Author: Patricia Malcolm

Floras offer a means for the identification and correct naming of plants for a particular region. Kew’s tradition for writing Floras has lead to the production of 6 main African Floras, which together with other monographic work are gradually being digitised and will form part of the online e-floras resource. Having these works in digital form not only enables access to the Floras for users around the world through the internet, but also opens opportunities to improve and reuse this information. In this talk I will cover 3 ways in which the information in Floras and monographs can be used to build interactive identification systems. I will first describe the methodology used for the digitisation of Kew’s legacy works and how this information is now part of an online database for identification and nomenclatural queries (Flora Zambesiaca online). I will then demonstrate how Lucid Phoenix can be used to publish dichotomous keys online, using Phyllanthus key from Flora Zambesiaca as an example. And finally, I will demonstrate how to transfer character base information from a monograph (“Then genus Croton in Madagascar and the Comoro Is.” by A. Radcliffe-Smith – unpublished) into a DELTA/INTKEY system. With this key the user can arrive to a group of less than 10 taxa by using only 5 characters, out of a total of ~150 species of Croton.
View Presentation

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