Topic: More ALS conundrums
Another dull day, I have had my exercise, so I sat down to investigate another of the new features on ALS. Experience has taught me that ‘Analyse’ is the place to go to for anything you might have thought would be more obviously signposted, and I was not disappointed. There I found the option to define an area and download a checklist.
I opted to draw a polygon, following the instructions in a box. Unfortunately, it omits to tell you how to close the polygon. I have met this sort of thing before (many potential users will not), and so divined correctly that a double-click does the business.
I am offered a glimpse of the metadata for the polygon. Puzzling, because on the first time through I had seen a longer list of options on the same screen. A flash of inspiration, I refresh the page, and then I am offered what I started off looking for, to download a checklist (now they call it a species list for the polygon, not a checklist). Ok, that worked, and I get to see the top 200 species, with the following headings and first data items:
Scientific name authorship (Linnaeus, 1758)
Species Abraxas grossulariata
Number of records 2
Not much wrong there, though it is at least unconventional to cite the author in front of the Kingdom rather than after the binomial, and most folk would be happy to call the moth the Magpie Moth (why is the vernacular column blank, even for species with well-established English names?).
Great stuff so far, and I click to download the list as .csv.
The headings and data items for the first record are:
LSID Abraxas grossulariata
Scientific Name (Linnaeus, 1758)
Taxon Concept Animalia
Taxon Rank Arthropoda
Family Abraxas grossulariata
Vernacular Name 1
Number of records
Yes, look carefully – there is no mistake. Copied and pasted faithfully from the file.
At this point I decided that really there was no point in wasting any more time on it, so please:
1 – design instructions to be appropriate to all levels of prior experience;
2 - sort out the glitch which does not present the download option on the first screen after drawing the polygon;
3 – in the page display of the records, put the authority after the binomial;
4 – if you are going to offer vernacular names, give us more than just a heading;
5 – redesign the download so that the headings fit with what is below them (I am unable to understand how the page display has the correct matches, but the downloaded file does not);
6 – do consider taking the entire site offline until the basic testing of routines has been done, and then add things page by page as they have been coded, tested thoroughly, and are actually in the appropriate state for the beta testing we are supposed to be doing here (for the avoidance of doubt, this sort of thing is not beta testing, but the testing that should have been done by the IT team before it ever reached the public);
7 – confirm that these points have been noted for action.