|Dallwitz, M.J. 1997 onwards. DELTA programs and documentation. delta-intkey.com|
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10 September 2016
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.
This section describes how to download and configure the CSIRO DELTA System.
If you have previously installed Intkey or the DELTA System by the procedures given here, delete, rename, or move the ‘delta’ folder. Download the distribution file, and unzip it into the same location as the original installation, as described below. The other configuration steps should not be necessary.
If you previously installed the programs by running intk32.exe or delt32.exe, 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 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 be 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\’.
You can run the app by double-clicking on ‘C:\delta\intkey5.exe’ in Windows (File) Explorer. In the ‘Select data set’ window, browse to an initialization file, or type or paste the name of an initialization file, which may be on your computer (e.g. ‘C:\delta\sample\intkey.ink’ – DELTA sample data) or on the Web (e.g. ‘http://delta-intkey.com/angio/webstart.ink’ – angiosperm families).
For convenience in running Intkey, you can associate it 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’.
You can also pin Intkey to the Start Menu. In Windows (File) Explorer, right-click on ‘C:\delta\intkey5.exe’, and select ‘Pin to Start (Menu)’.
You will now be able to start Intkey by double clicking on an Intkey initialization file in Windows (File) Explorer, e.g. ‘C:\delta\sample\intkey.ink’; or by clicking on a link to an Intkey Web startup file, e.g. delta-intkey.com/britin/noc/webstart.ink (Insects of Britain and Ireland: the genera of Lepidoptera-Noctuidae).
To test the app, we recommend using the demonstration key Butterflies and moths, which is specially designed for exploring the general principles of interactive identification, and for use in training courses and workshops. When evaluating interactive-key apps, it’s important to carry out real identifications (when the answer is unknown), 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. For more information, see Principles of interactive keys.
When you exit from a key, you will be given the opportunity to download the zipfile containing the Intkey data, and/or to add the dataset 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). In Windows XP, choose ‘Open’; in 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.
You should now 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’.
The DELTA Editor allows you to enter and maintain DELTA data. You can also run the programs Confor, Key, Dist, and Intkey from within the Editor.
If you want to run DELTA programs in a command window (which gives you additional options – see Programs available in the DELTA System), you should add the folder ‘C:\delta’ to the environment variable ‘path’, as follows. Open the Control Panel.
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.
To check that the path has been correctly set, open a command window (see ‘Opening a command window’ in Programs available in the DELTA System), and enter the DELTA command ‘listpath’. You should see a listing of the ‘path’ environment variable, with one item per line. (The standard Windows command ‘path’ gives the same information, but in a less readable format.)
For an introduction to using the DELTA System, see User’s guide to the DELTA Editor. This includes instructions on experimenting with the sample data, and producing your own data.
The DELTA-L mailing list. DELTA-L is a mailing list for support of programs that use DELTA data, and for general discussion of descriptive databases. Topics include: computer programs for taxonomy, data formats, data interchange standards, data capture, data analysis, database design, description printing, expert systems, information retrieval, interactive identification, key making, mapping, and taxonomic characters.
Programs available in the DELTA System • PDF version. A complete index of all the programs available in the CSIRO DELTA System.
User’s guide to Intkey: a program for interactive identification and information retrieval • PDF version. Contains the same information as the app’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 • PDF version
DELTA Intkey tutorial (PDF) (Amanda Spooner and Alex Chapman)
DELTA-L mailing list. The mailing-list archive contains many tips and examples.
DELTA Primer • PDF version. This document contains up-to-date information about entering and editing DELTA data via a text editor, and running the programs in a command window. It was written before the availability of the DELTA Editor, which is now the recommended method for entering and editing DELTA data.
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 (Mauro Cavalcanti). Internet Archive: maurobio.infobio.net/downloads/deltaman.pdf (18 February 2009).
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. Internet Archive: http://maurobio.infobio.net/ (18 June 2010).
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.
Data – descriptions, illustrations, interactive identification, and information retrieval from DELTA databases
DELTA Newsletter archive. The DELTA Newsletter was published from February 1988 to April 1996. It was intended to promote communication among scientists developing and applying computer technology in the collection, storage, analysis, and presentation of descriptive taxonomic data. It was not restricted to software or applications supporting or implementing the DELTA Standard.
Topics included: computer programs for taxonomy, data formats, data interchange standards, data capture, data analysis, database design, description printing, expert systems, information retrieval, interactive identification, key making, mapping systems and taxonomic characters.
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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