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FAQ - Taxon Dictionary

Q. Designations do not seem to be complete or correct.

A. This remains the responsibility of  JNCC. They update the NHM  system. This is not an R6 issue as the NHM dictionary is used by the NBN Atlas, Indicia etc.  Post any concerns on the Dictionary Forum and also email JNCC direct.


Q. Taxanomic  Hierarchy - Reporting on not correct

A. Not all starting points will work. R6 now gives a warning message when this is the case. Only the main levels  Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species are supported, but the NHM  are are beginning to introduce sub-order into some taxon groups .


Q. Taxon Dictionary incomplete or incorrect

A. Post any queries under Dictionary on the Forum. The Recorder 6 Dictionary is based around Taxon Lists. The Recorder 3.3 list is a general list inherited from the Recorder 3.3 system. Later lists are generally specific to one group, although there is one list covering marine taxa.  There is also a list - List of Additional Names -  used by the NHM to add new taxa and make changes as an interin measure, pending the issue of an updated list for a group. Certain lists are considered preferred and these  are indicated in Recorder 6 by having a space before the name, so they appear at the top of the Dictionary lists. Where possible use the preferred lists or the List of Additional names when choosing taxa. Recorder 6 uses  table 'Nameserver' which manages changes in taxonomy, for example linking older names to the latest names. The attribute  (eg. sensu stricto) and author affect the 'meaning' of the taxa and need to be taken into account when selecting taxa. See also  Taxon Dictionary out of step.

Q. Taxon Dictionary out of step

A. It is possible for the dictionary on an R6 system gets out of step with the master. The only known reason for this is an issue which occurred back in 2010, when it was discovered that running multiple updates together meant that only the first upgrade was processed.   This was fixed in November 2011 with a new upgrade program. I am not aware of issues since then. There is no easy way of knowing if a dictionary is out of step as the errors can be subtle and not show up for a long time.  If you suspect a problem, because searches or reports do not work as expected then please put a post on the Forum. Dictionary upgrade scripts can fail if the dictionary has got out of step. If this happens I will try to provide an immediate fix to keep R6 running, but further investigation should be undertaken to find and resolve any problems.   

At the moment Mike Weideli provides a £40.00  service  to check a dictionary and if necessary to provide a special set of updates to bring the dictionary into line with the Master.  In order to provide this service I will need a copy of your database. I can accept a backup, or a copy of the actual database taken after a detach.  This can be provided on a DVD, memory stick or via Dropbox. All SQL versions can be accepted.  There is no need to stop using Recorder.  After checking I will provide a special dictionary upgrade which will bring your dictionary into line with the master.  I would normally turn this around within 48 hours. Please email me mike@Lfield.co.uk if you would like to use this service.  It will help if you let me know what version of SQL you are using.

Note*  – The data  not be retained once the work is complete and will not be passed on to anyone else in any format. O

Q. Taxon Sort Order appears incorrect

A. The sort order for taxon is provided through the structure of the Organism table, and is based on Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species.  By default sorting is alphabetical within each of these levels. The NHM  are  beginning to introduce sub-order into some taxon groups, but the fact that intermediate levels are not generally supported means that the taxon order may not be what is required. For example if families in a group are normally ordered by sub-order then this will not be reflected in R6. A method has been provided a more detailed sort within the NHM levels, which involves adding a weight to each taxon.  The sort order is then by weight/alphabetical within each level. The maintenance of these weightings is down to R6 users. They are not the responsibility of the NHM and JNCC do not fund their maintenance. If you are concerned about the sort order for particular group, then your help in providing and/or maintaining the weightings would be appreciated.

Q.User Added Taxa

A. The Natural History Museum maintains the National Taxon dictionaries which are used by   Recorder 6, The NBN Gateway and Indicia and some other systems.

Recorder 6 allows users to add their own taxa. Normally this is considered a temporary measure until the NHM adds the taxa to the national dictionary. In this case it is worth asking for the taxa to be added to the National list. Requests to do this should be made in the UK Species Inventory/Dictionary section.  Some users wish to add species for recording outside of the National limits and taxa can be added for this purpose. The standard method of adding taxa is through the Tools/Edit Taxon Details menu. Taxa can be added anywhere in the dictionary as children at any level, however, this can make them difficult to find so a special Dictionary list (List for User Added  Taxa) is provided. This appears immediately after the preferred lists (those with a space as the first character of their name). Taxa added in this way are not linked into the taxonomic hierarchy so are not sorted and are not included if the hierarchy is expanded. To overcome this there is an addin available for managing user added taxa. See Addins on this site.  This allows new taxa to be slotted into their correct place in the taxonomic hierarchy. It also provides various processes for managing the taxa including adding and deleting them plus methods for moving the data to system supplied taxa when they become available. User added taxa are not exported  and data can not be passed to the NBN Gateway.

Q.Dictionary Upgrade  Fails (v4)

A. If the upgrade fails with an error message then please report this on the Forum. Errors which are down to SQL not running may mean your dictionary is out of step (see above).  Another common error is to leave the original zip file in the scripts folder, which will cause an error.  If the update appears to run, but the correct version is not shown in help/about R6  this is often  down to  the files not being correctly unzipped in the scripts folder.  The downloaded file just needs to be unzipped  just once and will normally contain two zipped files, two .ini files and one .sql file.