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Re: Sound identification key

Subject: Re: Sound identification key
From: Walter Knapp <>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 12:14:15 -0400
Doug Von Gausig wrote:
> 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 easy,
>>>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.

I've built keys in the past, in fact somewhere back in all the courses I 
had I remember there being a session or two on how to structure them. 
You need to understand how to construct them to get the most effective 
use out of them. So getting what to ask is not the problem I have at the 
moment. The problem is coming up with software that will manage it.

The html hypertext system is probably what I'll end up with if I cannot 
find anything more efficient. I've yet to experiment far enough to see 
how well the web browser included with my palm can do. For a key in it 
I'd format the pages appropriately for it's display. You only have 320 X 
320 pixels to work with.

The nice trick about doing the key on a computer is that you can track 
down different branches very fast. A good computer key is going to be 
two way, so you run down each branch to find the best fit before making 
a final choice. That's much tougher to do with a printed key. I have a 
tadpole key I rewrote from one the USGS has so that it's two way. Next I 
need to simplify it's scientific jargon. Right now all the text would be 
tedious on a palm. And it's not oriented to ID in the field. If you want 
to see the original:
The original key is one way, and one color. By color coding the key, and 
putting reverse links you can greatly improve the readability.



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