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Sound identification key

Subject: Sound identification key
From: Doug Von Gausig <>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 08:38:09 -0700
At 07:02 PM 6/26/2003, Walter wrote:
>Doug Von Gausig wrote:
> > Someday we'll devise the perfect heuristic "key" for sounds, but until
> > then, we just have to learn a bit more and slowly get more proficient.
> >
> > Speaking of that key, does anyone want to try to create it? It's not ea=
> > but could be very, very helpful, especially for beginners.
>At the moment I'm hunting around to see if there is a "build a key" sort
>of software for the Palm OS. I can do it as html pages, but looking for
>something a bit simpler. Something I can use to assemble a key from my
>own data and pictures (and audio).

Creating a key is not the problem that I've encountered. I have tried
several times just to get started - it's the heuristics that I can't get.
For instance -

1. Is it a Song or a Call? Song - go to 2. Call, go to 3.
2. Is it complex (more than 3 syllables)? go to 5. Simple (less than 4
syllables)? Go to 6.

at about this point it breaks down into seemingly infinite possibilities
and inadequate verbal descriptors, like "screechy" and "melodic" and "terse=

The best I could ever do was a key based on a certain restricted habitat,
and maybe that's the best way to go - that means that the first qualifier
has to be a decision about the habitat. Then there are all those birds and=

frogs that are generalists and don't honor habitat boundaries. This is a
job for someone with much, much more time on his/her hands than I have
right now.

Doug Von Gausig
Clarkdale, Arizona, USA
Nature Recordists e-mail group

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