Hub for finding identification guides?

I keep randomly coming across iNat journal posts and profiles that have some useful links to identification resources and even the guides themselves in the journals, but is there somewhere that pulls together these resources that makes them more accessible to people that are trying to find them?

It seems like it would be ideal if there were a wiki or something that anyone could edit to add links to identification resources. This, of course, could get really complicated if it were thorough as so many taxa are involved and guides could be regional and/or taxon specific. The closest thing I’ve found on the forum is this, which is kind of similar to what I’m thinking about but may need to have levels upon levels to actually contain all the resources out there. With plants alone, there could be hundreds or thousand of both regional guides and guides that are global but taxon specific.

I’ve been thinking it would be good to make some identification guides but it is so hard to know if someone has made one already or not as there doesn’t seem to be a place to pull all these resources together. There’s no reason to duplicate the effort if something already exists. The problem is there are so many useful guides in random places that the average person looking for them will probably never find many of them.

If someone wants to really help with IDing taxa they aren’t that familiar with, it would be good to make it as easy as possible for them to find the resources that will help them ID the groups they’d like to focus on. Seems like a single place to look for these resources would be the way to go.


I feel like the forum post you linked is pretty substantial already, and it is a wiki so you can edit it. I’m not really sure what else you are proposing that isn’t given in that post - might you be able to elaborate on that?


I don’t, honestly. Some (very useful) links, no books at all. There are more ID books on german plants in only one of my bookshelfs than ID links in that entire post. It is going in the right direction for sure! But we’d need a real tool for that, user friendly, intuitive and all. Like, if I want to know the latest on mediterranean ID literature, a lot of researchwork is needed just to get the literature links, and then get it sorted by usefulness.
I think a tool is needed. Enter your location, enter the taxonomic group, enter your level of expertise (from newbie to pro), and get all the relevant books and ID papers listed for the area, from picture book to monography.

3 Likes, not in German…

Not only guides, also a website

Thanks for the links! Yeah, we should create something like that, worldwide, with thousands and thousands of entries and a multiple language user interface.

Ok, then I feel like the iNat forum is probably not the ideal host for such a project. You’d want a custom website, probably.

There’s a separate post for books. But how and why iNat forum would store it all? Just open e-library of your choice, there’re thousands of books in pdf and djvu.

1 Like

It’s more of a skeleton of what I’m thinking. It would be nice if there were one place where people could go to find all the guides they are looking for. Let’s say I want to learn how to ID the genus Clarkia. I would go to Plants/Onagraceae/Clarkia and find resources like these:

Or if I wanted to ID Australian ghost crabs, I could go to the appropriate taxonomic section for ghost crabs or a geographic section for Australian crabs and find this:

Right now, there are lots of resources like these buried where most people will never find them. It would be nice to have a single place that makes them easy to find. Thousands of links could certainly be added to the existing Wiki, but is that the best way to go about sharing this information?

1 Like

@loarie You’ve made some of these guides. Do you have any ideas for making it so that the average person could actually find them easily?

Hello, I am Jean-François Olivier, creator of

I am happy to see that you discuss about it: thank you @optilete for drawing the attention to Nadaba!

Let me react to what some of the points written in this discussion.

First, let me say I totally agree with what @keirmorse wrote in their first and last messages!


It already exists: it is Nadaba! Nadaba’s scope is worldwide, without any language limit. You may post books and other items in any language, in any alphabet. I totally agree with you: I think there are even hundreds of thousands of items to be posted on Nadaba. The information about them is currently spread everywhere and sometimes very difficult to find. I intended Nadaba to be the solution to this. Nadaba’s interface is already multilingual: EN, FR and NL to start with.


This is precisely the way to work on Nadaba (apart from the level of expertise).
And even more: thanks to tags, you may tag and then select specific items.


@stefanadrian, you are my favorite target :wink:. We are certainly tens of thousands naturalists around the word having shelves full of ID books and field guides. I thought that the only one solution was a social cataloguing tool like Nadaba. Every user may feed Nadaba collaborative database by posting their books, papers, apps, websites, etc. to share it with the naturalist community.


I am really sorry. In a future version I will include new interface languages, at least Spanish and German. But to make it possible, Nadaba must be a success. For the moment it is not the case. The numbers of contributions and of users rise very slowly.

Nadaba is evolutive. Users may post items and suggest new authors, publishers, geographical zones and tags. It is maybe not perfect, but we have to start somewhere otherwise we will never get the tool we are speaking about.

I have a lot of ideas to develop Nadaba in the future but I need for more users to contribute. :pray: Please, @keirmorse @fffffffff @zdanko @stefadrian @loarie and everyone else, feel free to create an account in Nadaba, contribute with new items and spread the word about it to your naturalist contacts.

If you want to know more, I invite you to read the About page. I’m working on the FAQ but they are currently only in French (and partially in Dutch), sorry.

And I’m always happy to receive any feedback about Nadaba!


@jean-francois_olivier Seems like NaDaBa has good potential. I just made one entry to test, which worked okay as it was a fairly broad resource on all plants in California. I tried making a second more specific one and had problems though. I can’t figure out how to create new taxonomic groups or new tags. Ideally, all taxonomic groups down to the genus level should already be there. It might be good to limit tags to a point but I’m sure there are some useful ones to add like “geographic search/query” or “database”.

Here’s an example of one I would like to have in the taxonomic group Clarkia under Onagraceae:

Also, there are growth forms like woody plants and bulb plants under taxonomic groups, which should go elsewhere as they aren’t taxonomic groups. Likewise, the current hierarchy for taxonomic groups in plants needs work. Grasses should go under monocots and a couple of other categories could under eudicots. “Graminées, joncs, carex” should actually probably be under growth forms and not taxonomy as each of those groups are different families.


One problem I have is knowing the authors and title of a book, but being unable to find a source for obtaining said book.


To create new taxonomic groups or new tags just write to

You are totally right. I changed it today. I transformed these notions into tags: trees, shrubs, woody plants; bulb plants; lianas; grass-like (grasses, rushes, sedges, etc.). I thank you for this comment.

Are you suggesting to create tags named “geographic search/query” and “database”? What would this new tags indicate exactly?
On the home page there is a “geographical area” research field and a menu “database”.

I will create new taxonomic groups little by little on demand (like you do) or following the amount of items in the group. For example, I have already created the Orchidaceae family because there is a lot of items about orchids.

I can only advise you to search on internet with the title and the author name and see if there are selling sites in the results. If I don’t find any site selling the book, I guess it means that it is out of print and that no used book is currently available on the market.
For me the main challenge is first to find the titles of books that might be useful to me. That’s why I created Nadaba.

Okay, I’ll email when I have some time to pull together a list of references I would add for various taxonomic groups. That should make it more efficient.

Consider that you can do a geographical query on websites like iNaturalist and Calflora but many other websites just have information. Likewise those two websites have databases and many others do not. Having a tag to find websites that do this might be useful. Just an idea.

@jean-francois_olivier Also, I see that there are many item types in the database, but it looks like i can only enter material or virtual as options. How would I enter all those other item types?

Maybe the best solution is to add on Wikipedia page of taxon section with links to ID guides? So everybody can edit, add items, and it is also will be available on “About” tab on iNat taxa page?

1 Like


See in the capture the field “Types of entries”.

@keirmorse [quote=“keirmorse, post:15, topic:38640, full:true”]

Okay, I’ll email when I have some time to pull together a list of references I would add for various taxonomic groups. That should make it more efficient.

Consider that you can do a geographical query on websites like iNaturalist and Calflora but many other websites just have information. Likewise those two websites have databases and many others do not. Having a tag to find websites that do this might be useful. Just an idea.

OK, I understand what you mean. Because this tags must be available exclusively for virtual items, I will include two radio buttons more in the item creation page. It will be for the future version. Anyway, very good idea. Thank’s :+1:

Discover life is one of the broadest collection of identification guides I’ve found. It works almost like a dichotomous key, where you can select characteristics to narrow down to species/genus/etc. Best part about it is that it’s all uniform, all you have to do is click through the guides. From what I understand it’s still a WIP, but it already has a decent amount of information on it.