DiversityDescriptions (DeltaAccess)

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G. Hagedorn
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A SQL interface to DELTA, the Description Language for Taxonomy, implemented in Microsoft Access 97, 2000, and 2002 (= XP). DeltaAccess can be used in 3 ways: a) You can use DeltaAccess simply as a module to import DELTA coded text files into a database of your choice and then write an independent application for that database (e. g. a web interface). b) You can keep your data in DELTA coded text files, and use DeltaAccess as a one-way import tool to analyze your data (incl. cross-tabulations, and charts), print form sheets to edit your data off-line, or to generate dynamic html/www output. c) You can use DeltaAccess as the central data repository around which your work is organized. You can thus make full use of advanced editing functions of DeltaAccess, like the multiple item editor.



-INSTALLATION AND USAGE: only local or local-area-lan operation (up to 20 concurrent users per datasets is practical). No internet version; online identification is provided through collaboration with Navikey (www.navikey.net, GPL Java software)

-FORMATS: native format: native storage is a database format. A variant of this format supports only backup and restore operations (smaller file size) - importing format: CSV, DELTA, SDD 1.1 (SDD support since DiversityDescriptions version 2.0), Tab-separated, Excel, etc. - exporting format: CSV, DELTA, SDD 1.1 (SDD support since DiversityDescriptions version 2.0), Tab-separated, Excel etc.

-KNOWLEDGE REPRESENTATION: possible to represent quantitative data (flexible system with many statistical measures like min, max, mean, mode, various ranges, s.d., s.e., sample size, etc.) - manage polymorphism (User-defined categorical values, for which a quantitative interpretation may be given) -  manage missing data (Natively All three DELTA status values: Unknown, not applicable, variable. The system is in principle extensible to support SDD, but methods will not recognize these).

-MEDIA SUPPORT: possibility to add pictures of the taxa, link to external ressources (through general scope mechanism).

-FUNCTIONALITIES: allows editing and identification - possibility to read and to edit the same knowledge base from several computer concurrently - manage uncertainty in editing but not yet evaluated in identification - history of identification (partly, a history of identification steps is recorded and can be manipulated) - multi-access key - possibility to have access to a complete descriptive card of the identified taxon (more or less, access to full data is provided, but not in free-text overview form which would be desirable).

-USER INTERFACE: online help available - languages: user interface is English-only - loading time: short - launch time: short - dynamic community: no, news, updates only - known knowledge bases (large datasets like LIAS, DEEMY)- possible future developments: no concrete plans, new version just released.

System Requirements: 


Two versions of DeltaAccess are available for download. They are distributed as self-extracting archives; both include the help file.
  • Version 1.9 for Access 2000 and 2002/XP (= Access version 9 and 10). Current version, ca. 3 MB, identical with the distribution for Access 97, except for the version differences. Note: it seems to be unnecessary to distribute a separate Access 2002 version (as tested in version 1.7x). Please inform me, if you experience any problems using the Access-2000-version of DeltaAccess under Access 2002.
  • Version 1.9 for Access 97 (= Access version 8). Current version, ca. 3 MB. Includes help file referenced above and source code.
Note that you must have installed a version of Microsoft Windows and the Microsoft Access (in a version corresponding to the DeltaAccess release) to use this software! Microsoft Access is part of "Office Professional", but not part of "Office Home" or "Standard". To unpack a self-extracting archive, use the Windows Explorer and double-click on the downloaded file. If you are upgrading from a previous version of DeltaAccess, first rename the old file ("DeltaAccess.mdb", "DeltaAccess_97.mdb", etc.) to another name to keep a backup of your project data. When you open the new version, you will be prompted to restore your projects from this backup file. See Installation and Upgrading for further information.
Interfaces and Data Standards: 

Import and export of DELTA standard (ASCII-OEM, ANSI character sets) and DELTA extended (proprietary directives, support for Unicode). SDD export support planned

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