More lists….

Version 0.0.2 is undergoing some preliminary testing with a couple of crack testers to iron out any glitches with managing regions and locations, but should be available for public consumption very soon.

As well as location managment there are a few lists coming along to help you understand your data.

I mentioned in an earlier post you can see your life list, plus regional lists, however I’ve added to that some comparitive lists…

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So now… you can compare your life list to your year list to help identify target species, and equally you can compare your current and past year lists to see where you’re doing well or not so well.

Anyway… v0.0.2 will be with us in a week or so…

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Regional Lists – coming in v0.0.2.0

Just a quick update… coming soon in v0.0.2.0 is the ability to manage locations, and to produce lists on a regional basis taking advantage of the hierarchical nature of locations.

My own database is set up with the World at the top level and then beneath that is Europe (I haven’t made any real records of sightings outside of Europe), and beneath that the UK which in turn is split into England and Scotland, and England is split into the counties I have records for. The benefit of this hierarchy of sites is that you get multiple lists for free… add a report to Cresswell Pools and not only do all the records count for my Cresswell list but also for my Northumberland list, my England list, my UK list, my Europe list, my Life list and my Year list.

Now you can already report on species on a site-by-site basis, or globally via the Life List and Year List options but what you can’t do with the current release is report on *all* sites in a county, or a country, or a continent. That changes in v0.0.02.0 :

Lists dropdown

I’ve also made a change to the year list options – it now gives you the option of current or previous year’s year lists rather than just the current one. If there’s demand I can expand that to offer year lists for each year that contains any records within the database.

The value of taxonomies vs flat lists

I’m having a bit of a think… does a taxonomic breakdown of species (ie order -> family -> genus -> species) add much value?

I thought it did at first but beginning to wonder now – Lee Evans has sent me his UK400 lists for UK and Western Palearctic to use as options for species lists, and these are literally lists rather than hierarchies unlike the way the IOC structures its lists.

My thinking initially was that it would be useful as a memory prodder – if I’ve been to somewhere that has lots of dabbling ducks it would be useful to see all the dabbling ducks grouped together in case I had forgotten one.

In reality I’m finding that I rarely use the taxonomic structure and just go straight to the flat list.

What I’m currently leaning towards is the option (on two levels) to select whether you want to use a flat list or a taxonomic hierarchy. Just using a flat list certainly has a big impact in terms of performance – currently it takes 5-10 seconds to load up the full BOU list as a hierarchy when I start the program but it takes less than a second if I just load it as a flat list of species.

The other benefit of being able to just use a flat list is that it makes it easier to import or set up different lists – for example loading those UK400 lists, otherwise I need to try and reverse-engineer where species fit into the taxonomy.

What you’d lose if you elected to use just a flat list would be the ability to report on how many species of duck you’d recorded as percentage of all ducks on the list. I did like that facility but maybe its not worth it.

Any thoughts?