iNat ID shortcut list

For those of you who may not know, the “suggest an ID” bar accepts partial names, by producing a list of “closest matches”. Thus, eup mac becomes Euphorbia maculata, mall becomes Anas platyrhynchos (ie Mallard), and so on.

I started a spreadsheet of shortcuts! Specifically, short ones, one to three letters or maybe four.

Thought it might be a useful resource for anyone who does a lot of IDs, especially if you’re doing coarse identifications. Maybe you’ll find a neat shortcut you wouldn’t have thought of. There are some weird surprises in there (q q = Chelicerata??).
Please help me fill it in. As it gets longer and more complete, it’ll be more useful.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1V5II3NaULAmVqdYWh5DTm2rASvcPQgcgvXTcyYjBrkM/edit?usp=sharing

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I believe the first 3 letters of any name/name combo will bring up the desired species. Having said that, autocorrect gets in the way at times. So, nor moc = northern mockingbird, bla pho = black Phoebe, cal scr = California scrub jay, ocr sea = ochre sea star, pac pur = pacific purple sea urchin, etc.

I appreciate your efforts @trh_blue, but it might not be needed.

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yes, but why type seven characters if one or two will work? when you’re doing hundreds or thousands of IDs it does add up.

I learned just today that I can substitute w (1st result) for pter (3rd? result) for Pterygota, for instance. and u to get Life.

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That’s great to know and I’m sure it will help many ID folks out there. Your list is useful, but also long, somehow I think the extra 1, 2, or 3 letters may be faster than switching between tabs looking for the shortcut. Of course, if one only ID’s a handful of species and learns those shortcuts, that is quite useful indeed.

Thanks for doing it and sharing your work.

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I think the best use case (once it is filled in more) would be to search for taxa relevant to you. I agree it’s not especially productive to go through the whole list hoping to find something relevant.

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I totally see that, if you are id’ing a lot of cicadas or dragonflies or euphorbia, you start wishing, “I wish there were a shorter way to fill in the ‘Euphorbia’ species that I’m constantly typing”. Then memorize a relevant listed string for use, or contribute one if you figure out a good shortcut. Sounds handy, great idea!

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Thank you @trh_blue for posting this! I had no idea shortcuts like this worked! I just tested it out on an observation. This will be very useful for people who like to do things quickly. Contractions and acronyms are ubiquitous in scientific literature. Although, it does mean that people may tend to forget the scientific name because they get used to the shortcut name. I know some people who use acronyms, or word phrases, a lot. However, when asked to spell out the entire words in those phrases, the same people have to look those up words because they have forgotten how to actually spell them.

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Typing q q doesn’t put Chelicerata at the top of the list (if that was the intention). However, che does, which is far more memorable, and just as quick to type. In fact, typing just ch or c is enough to put Chelicerata near the top of the list - which is all that’s really needed.

I think your list could become more useful if it concentrated on recording memorable shortcuts for taxa that are hard to bring to the top of the list (because they aren’t currently amongst the most commonly identifed). One trick for finding these is to look at the list of common names shown on the taxonomy pages. All of the words shown there can be utilised in shortcuts, which explains why some apparently weird letter combinations will work for certain taxa. The downside of that approach, of course, is that common names are far more prone to change than the scientific names. This explains why q q doesn’t work for Chelicerata any more (but q<space> does, since “Quelicerats” is still listed as a common name for the Catalan language).

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How is it possible that nothing comes up for lmao?

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I suggest a feature request to display the shortest shortcut possible for a taxon in the taxon page.

Anyone could edit this field, but the value would be saved only if it is an accurate shortcut for this taxon, which can be evaluated automatically, and only if it is not longer than the previous value (provided the previous value is still accurate, which is not obvious over time, as new taxa get added).

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That would be pretty awesome. I’m not sure how to figure the best methods out apart from brute force and experimenting with common names.
I was hoping that a communal effort would nudge the usefulness of a list of shortcuts towards being worthwhile… See this xkcd comic:

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According to the chart, assuming I continue to use iNat for a very long time, I’d be justified in sitting down for potentially tens of hours finding better shortcuts. But if more people add shortcuts and more people refer to the chart, time invested is divided while time saved is multiplied.
That’s the theory any way.

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It could be made tridimentional, the 3rd dimension being the number of people doing the task.
(We got the same idea at the same time).

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don’t forget that crucial hovertext:

image

Don’t forget the time you spend finding the chart to look up what you save. And the time spent reading this reminder about the time spent. And the time trying to figure out if either of those actually make sense. Remember, every second counts toward your life total, including these right now.

;)

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I am happy with the pair of 3 letter words - poked by adding a 4th letter if I need to.
But I am not focused on a narrow repetitive slice, so not the target audience.

I think it should be a feature of iNaturalist. It is suboptimal to try to do it “from the outside”.

The need is to have the most efficient shortcuts when identifying.

In relation this discussion, I propose this feature request:
https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/keyboard-shortcuts-for-taxa/17642/5

mh = Euphorbia maculata too heh (2nd rank)

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yaasss!
hey @nathantaylor and @janeyair !

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there are some weird ones in there! for most of the bird ones, it’s because of the standard four-letter banding codes (more info here). for example, “bn” brings up Himantopus mexicanus, Black-necked Stilt, because its banding code is BNST. in this way, pretty much every bird has its own four-letter abbreviation, and some of them will come up on the first 2–3 letters.

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The list now has about 900 entries and counting!
I’ve included the 50 most common species and am working on finding the best shortcuts for many common taxa at various ranks. If you have a taxon you identify frequently and want me to work it out for you, add your taxon to the “reverse” tab and I’ll get to it in time.

I’ve learned through some trial and error that the fastest ID for a bird is, almost always, its four-letter AOU code.

I suggest searching by taxon! You can sort the sheet, but probably fastest to use ctrl-F or in-browser search.

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