The EDITor is a next-generation data entry and manipulation software that moves beyond the form-based approach used by comparable tools. The following design principles have been applied:
A unique feature of the Taxonomic Editor is its parsing capability. Parsing recognises distinct data elements within a text string. Data can be entered as text (e.g. a name with its nomenclatural reference) as in a word processor. As you type, the parser separates the data in the text (e.g. generic name, epithets, etc.) and puts it into the correct data field. This makes data entry easy, but the result is the “atomized” data record that can be sorted, corrected, output, etc. with the all the possibilities available for structured databases.
A second defining feature of the Editor is to minimise system intervention. This is a tool for expert taxonomists, so we do expect errors to become corrected at some time in the preparation of your treatment – but according to your schedule. Rather than enforcing data integrity upon input, you are pointed towards possible problems without being stopped to correct the input at once. For example, a generic name not started by an uppercase letter will be marked by a wriggly red line under the name. When the mouse hovers over such data, a pop-up problem explanation can be offered.
The design of the user interface is kept as close as possible to standard software tools. Thus the number of special movements or gestures you have to learn in order to operate the software is kept at a minimum.
The EDITor can be used for a wide range of tasks, from creating simple checklists to monographic treatments, and across organism groups. So it offers an increasing range of customisation features influencing particularly the possibilities during data entry. At the beginning of a treatment, you usually decide which nomenclatural code you wish to follow (zoological or botanical). You can also choose which ranks, taxonomic and nomenclatural relationships, geographical occurrence areas and status types (e.g. native) should be offered for your data input. For some data fields you can create your own options. Finally, you can add individual user-defined fields for additional data categories you want to include.
Some features will be made available only to the “Executive Editor”. For example, there is a bulk editing facility that allows you to edit several records at one time. This is useful, for example, when orthographic corrections are to be propagated to all records that include the corrected item. This not only saves time but also improves data consistency and integrity. The bulk editor can also be used to merge duplicate records, which often turn up as a result of data import from various sources.