Links for computer-based resources

As any particularly useful links to computer-based ID resources are found over the course of this project, links will be added in here.


IKey+ key generation web service. IKey+ is a freely-accessible web service for the flexible creation of single access keys from taxonomic knowledge bases encoded with SDD. The developers of IKey+ aim to produce an applet that will allow it to be used within the Scratchpad environment.[1]

Xper2 multi-access key software. Xper2 is a freely-available program for generating and using knowledge bases for multi-access keys from the excellent Laboratoire Informatique et Systématique. The program is written in Java and can run on Windows, MacOS and Linux.[2] The program appears to be the subject of ongoing development and support and is quite well documented.

Example multi-access keys

iSpot Bayesian keys. The iSpot Bayesian keys facility is a web-based implementation of multi-access interactive keys developed and maintained by a team based at the Open University (originally funded through the Open Air Laboratories – OPAL – project, but now under the umbrella of the Open Science Laboratory). As a web-based implementation, it is accessible from many different platforms (including web-browsers on smart-phones). A number of existing keys are available from the website and potential authors are encouraged to create and submit new ones. There is no key-building software; instead, knowledge bases are constructed as taxon-character matrices, to a defined format, using a spreadsheet and submitted to iSpot for conversion to a format that the iSpot Bayesian key software can use. There is currently no SDD import/export functionality, so the ability to run iSpot keys on other software (e.g. Xper2) is limited.  There are online instructions on how to use the keys, but guidance on their construction is not currently accessible.

Terrestrial mollusc tool. A great site integrating a good Lucid multi-access key with nice fact sheets and information on biology and advanced techniques like dissection. Originally intended for US bio-security, but it includes many British species.

Tachinid genera of the Palaearctic. This is great example of a multi-access key. It has not used an off-the-shelf tool (e.g. Lucid) to build the key but it is implemented in a proprietary program written in ASP.NET.[3]

Ladybirds of Ontario. This is a multi-access from the University of Guelph created with Lucid and delivered online through the Lucid Java applet.

Other example keys

Ticks. This is an interactive (mostly dichotomous) key implemented by the University of Lincoln. The geographic and taxonomic scope of the key is not clear. It appears to have been written primarily for parasitologists (perhaps for Western Europe).

Hard-bodied ticks. This is an HTML-based dichotomous key to British hard-bodied ticks from Bristol University.

Other computer-based ID resources

Lepidoptera larva identification:

Spiders of Belgium and France:

Spiders of Europe:

Ken's Keys - various botanical ID resources:

Mike's insect keys:

Species ID wiki:

HINT ID quizes & tests:

Other computer-based general resources

BTO Mapstore:

NBN info on submitting records:

Wales evidence gaps project:

UK Environmental Observation Framework:

NatSCA Natural History Near You -

Galerie Insecte:


Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith