DELTA programs and documentation
20 June 2016
The DELTA System
Intkey app for interactive identification and information retrieval
Complete DELTA System
Support and documentation
Support and discussion
Other DELTA programs
The DELTA format (DEscription Language for TAxonomy) is a flexible method for encoding taxonomic descriptions for computer processing. The DELTA System is an integrated set of programs based on the DELTA format. For more information, see Overview of the DELTA system.
The programs were originally written for Microsoft Windows by the CSIRO Division of Entomology, and were ported by The Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) to run under Windows or Mac OS X. This document describes how to download and configure the CSIRO version. The ALA version is available at Open DELTA downloads.
If you have previously installed Intkey or the DELTA System, delete, rename, or move the ‘delta’ folder. Download the distribution zipfile, and unzip it into the same location as the original installation, as described below. The other configuration steps should not be necessary.
Alternatively, if you previously installed the programs by running delt32.exe or intk32.exe, you can uninstall using ‘Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs’ (Windows XP), or ‘Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features’ (later versions of Windows). (If ‘Delta’ doesn’t appear in the list of installed programs, it means that DELTA wasn’t installed in that way.) Then follow the complete configuration procedures given below.
If you use Revo Uninstaller, be careful when deleting registry entries, as items unrelated to the DELTA programs may be shown, e.g. ‘ContentViewModeLayoutPatternForBrowse - delta’.
Intkey is included with the complete DELTA System, but can downloaded and configured separately.
Download the Intkey zipfile. Open the downloaded zipfile in Windows (File) Explorer, and drag the folder ‘delta’ from the zipfile. It can be placed anywhere, but the root of your ‘C’ drive is recommended. This will produce a folder ‘C:\delta’. A subfolder ‘sample’ contains the ‘DELTA sample data’, which can be used to experiment with the program.
For convenience in running Intkey, it should be associated with its initialization file type, ‘.ink’, as follows. In Windows (File) Explorer, double click ‘C:\delta\sample\intkey.ink. In the ‘Windows’ dialog, select ‘Select a program from a list (of installed programs)’, and click ‘OK’. In the ‘Open with’ dialog, click ‘Browse’. In the ‘Open with...’ dialog, browse to ‘C:\delta\intkey5.exe’, and click ‘Open’. Check ‘Always use the selected program to open this kind of file’, and click ‘OK’.
Some Web browsers (e.g. Firefox) have their own internal file-type associations. If so, the first time you click on a link to an Intkey initialization file (e.g. delta-intkey.com/britin/noc/webstart.ink – Insects of Britain and Ireland: the genera of Lepidoptera-Noctuidae), you will need to browse to ‘C:\delta\intkey5.exe’ again.
To test the app, you can use sample dataset included with the downloaded files, or the demonstration key Butterflies and moths. The latter key is specially designed for exploration of interactive identification, and for use in training courses and workshops. When evaluating interactive-key apps, it’s important to carry out real identifications, rather than pretending to identify familiar organisms, when the answer is known beforehand. This key is suitable for that purpose. The characters don’t require special knowledge, and the illustrations can be used as ‘specimens’ to be identified.
When you exit from a key, you will be given the opportunity to add it to an index file for easier future access.
Download the DELTA zipfile. Open the downloaded zipfile in Windows (File) Explorer, and drag the folder ‘delta’ from the zipfile. It can be placed anywhere, but the root of your ‘C’ drive is recommended. This will produce a folder ‘C:\delta’. A subfolder ‘sample’ contains the ‘DELTA sample data’, which can be used to experiment with the programs.
Configure Intkey as described above.
In Windows (File) Explorer, right click ‘C:\delta\delta.exe’ ( the DELTA Editor). Windows XP: choose ‘Open’. Later versions of Windows: choose ‘Run as administrator’, and supply adminstrator login information when prompted. The DELTA Editor runs. You can open a dataset if you wish, or just exit. Subsequently, you will be able to run the DELTA Editor by double clicking on the program file (without running as administrator), or by double clicking on a DELTA database (.dlt) file such as ‘C:\delta\sample\sample.dlt’.
For an introduction to using the DELTA System, see User’s guide to the DELTA Editor.
If you want to run DELTA programs from a command window, you should add the folder ‘C:\delta’ to the environment variable ‘path’. Open the Control Panel. Windows XP: choose ‘System’; in the ‘System Properties’ dialog, select the ‘Advanced’ tab. Later versions of Windows: choose ‘System and Security > System > Advanced System Settings’, and supply adminstrator login information when prompted. Click ‘Environment variables’. In the ‘System variables’ box, select ‘path’ and click ‘Edit’. Add ‘C:\delta\;’ at the start of the path. Note the semicolon, which is required to separate the item from the rest of the path, except in Windows 10, which supplies it automatically.
Intkey, the DELTA Editor, Confor, Key, and Dist will run in 32-bit or 64-bit Windows. The other programs will run only in 32-bit Windows.
The DELTA-L mailing list
User’s guide to Intkey: a program for interactive identification and information retrieval • PDF version. Contains the same information as the program’s built-in help.
User’s guide to the DELTA Editor • PDF version. This is recommended as an introduction to using the DELTA System.
User’s guide to the DELTA System: a general system for processing taxonomic descriptions • PDF version. Detailed descriptions of: the DELTA format; the format-conversion program Confor; the data-maintenance program Delfor (superceded by the DELTA Editor); the key-generation program Key; the distance-matrix program Dist; how to set up Intkey datasets for Web access; the image-annotation program Intimate (superceded by the DELTA Editor).
Conditions of use
DELTA Intkey tutorial (PDF) (Amanda Spooner and Alex Chapman)
DELTA-L mailing list. The mailing-list archive contains many tips and examples.
DELTA Standard • PDF version
Files for generating messages and help used by Intkey. Not needed for normal operation of Intkey.
Intkey example: differences • PDF version (Mike Dallwitz)
Intkey example: identification • PDF version (Mike Dallwitz)
Introdução ao sistema DELTA (PDF) (Mauro Cavalcanti)
Known bugs in the DELTA Editor
DELIA. Integrated DELTA database management for MS-Windows. Internet Archive: www.dec.wa.gov.au/science-and-research/information-systems-research/delia.html (31 May 2009). See also ‘Integration of taxonomic descriptive data across multiple database platforms and softwares (Weed Information Network — a case study)’.
DeltaAccess. Storing and processing DELTA data in MS-Access.
DIANA. MS-Windows shell for running DELTA programs.
Free DELTA. An open-source system for processing taxonomic descriptions. Includes C++ classes for manipulating DELTA files.
Open DELTA. A port of the CSIRO DELTA System by The Atlas of Living Australia (ALA). It runs under Windows or Mac OS X.
PANDORA. Database system for taxonomic and biodiversity research projects. See also Internet Archive: www.rbge.org.uk/research/pandora.home.
PANKEY. Description writing, key-generation, and identification programs for MS-DOS.
TAXASOFT. Open-source editor for DELTA and DeltaXML.
WebDelta. Perl program for Web entry of DELTA item descriptions. Internet Archive: irisbioc.bio.unipr.it/webdelta/webdelta.html
See also Programs for Interactive Identification and Information Retrieval.
DELTA Newsletter archive
Digital Taxonomy. An information resource on biodiversity data management. Internet Archive: digitaltaxonomy.infobio.net (26 Jan 2009).
Methodology of interactive keys and descriptive databases
Programs for interactive identification and information retrieval
References. Applications and documentation of the DELTA System.
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