Keyboard shortcuts for taxa

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 the target of a shortcut might change sometimes).

See also:

See the UPDATE below.

by “shortest shortcut possible”, what exactly do you mean?

suppose we’re talking about the Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus).

  • if i type “rbwo” (4 characters), i can return just a single match.
  • if i type “rbw” (3 characters), i get 2 matches, with RBWO at the top.
  • if i type “红腹” (2 characters), i get many matches, with RBWO at the top.
  • if i type “r b wo” (6 characters), i get many matches, with RBWO at the top.
  • if i type “mel car” (7 characters), i get many matches, with RBWO at the top.

which one of the above was the shortest shortcut possible?

I would prefer “rbw”.
I would not mind if the desired taxon is not at the top.

The suggestions below also provide (in)direct elements of answer to this question.


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

I think that the following would better match the need:

1) Define shortcuts for the 10.000 most often selected taxa in identifications:

  • Taxon shortcut non-editable.
  • The same for all iNatters.
  • 2 or 3 letters, in most cases.
  • Generated automatically, in most cases.
  • For instance “LM” for “Family Lamiaceae”, “DR” for “Delonix regia”.

2) For all other taxa, enable each iNatter to define shortcuts:

  • Taxon shortcut editable.
  • Only for the user connected.
  • An extra settings page could display all shortcuts defined by the user connected.
  • For instance “SPE” for “Senna pendula”, “SBI” for “Senna bicapsularis”, etc. The user choses the “best” shorcuts for his/her needs.

In all cases, the shortcut is displayed in the taxon page.

The auto-complete appears to be strongly biased towards the most popular taxa. That can sometimes make it harder to find efficient shortucts for the less popular taxa. So perhaps there could be an option to bias the auto-complete towards the logged in user’s most popular taxa instead (i.e. whatever taxa they have identified and/or observed the most). I’m not exactly sure how feasible this is, but it might be a lot easier to implement (and maintain) than a system based on pre-defined shortcuts.

I think it would cost more server resources at run time.

Not necessarily. The user’s most popular taxa wouldn’t change much from day to day, so they wouldn’t need to be calculated in real time. Refreshing them every few hours (or even just once a day) would be good enough.

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