Concepts — What EditMaster Is All About

This is the "AviSys' author was run over by a truck" facility. It provides for easy "birding community" support to keep the AviSys taxonomy up to date, ensuring that AviSys can never become obsolete due to taxonomy changes, even if the author is out of business.

It's more than just being editable — it's being open, with continuing public support

By using EditMaster with a copy of AviSys, anybody can quickly and easily perform complete taxonomy edits, even if those edits are massive, involving moving large groups of birds around within the taxonomy. The result can then be distributed to all AviSys users. A facility already built into AviSys installs the update automatically.

(There should be no inference here that the author is planning to get run over by a truck, or that he is considering any other form of exit from the birding software business — he's having too much fun to do that. EditMaster just represents the final phase in making the AviSys taxonomy completely open and openly maintainable by AviSys users. Prior enhancements were the Master Checklist Renumbering feature and the Update of Master Checklist facility. )

How it works

An AviSys user who wants to update his or her copy of AviSys, or who wants to assume responsibility for distributing a major taxonomy update to others, creates a separate data set in AviSys, using the existing taxonomy as a template. (That's automatic — File | Add New Data Set) The user then simply clicks a button in EditMaster to create a special taxonomy editing file.

With the taxonomy editing file, the user can perform "block," "cut," and "paste" operations at will, as well as editing bird names, adding birds, and deleting birds*. The skills required are no different than those required to do the most basic word processing, and the interface and metaphors are identical. For example, you can move a single bird, a group of birds, an entire family of birds, or several families of birds anywhere by simply blocking them with the mouse, pressing Ctrl-X, placing the cursor at the new location for the group, and pressing Ctrl-V.
(The mouse/menu commands Edit | Cut and Edit | Paste can be substituted for the Ctrl-X and Ctrl-V keystrokes, above.)

In the case where an entire group of birds has its Latin genus name changed, a somewhat frequent occurrence, EditMaster has a powerful Search and Replace facility, just like most word processors. You can do a Search on the old name, with a Replace of the new name. EditMaster walks through the list, stopping at each instance of the old name, asking you to "approve" each change.

EditMaster has a multiple Undo facility — if you make mistakes, you can easily have EditMaster correct them. You can even Undo an Undo! Incremental file saves can be made, making the editing process as safe as it is easy.

You don't have to do all the work in one session. You can quit EditMaster and then return to the editing task whenever you want.

*(Editing individual bird names, adding and deleting birds, and performing splits and lumps, are best done within AviSys prior to using this facility because of AviSys' superior functions for those changes — but it's your choice. The primary purpose of this facility is moving birds, particularly large groups of birds, around within the taxonomy, and doing large Search and Replace operations.)

(AviSys Version 4.56 implemented the text file RANGESUB.DAT to make minor corrections to accommodate the Clements Fifth Edition when combined with the Nation Checklist Add-On. You may need to make additions or corrections to that file, which is self-explanatory. If changed, it should be distributed with any taxonomy update distribution. )

After editing the taxonomy, the user simply clicks a button in EditMaster to create a taxonomy update file. That file can be distributed to any AviSys 4.5x, or later, users. They can use the special taxonomy update facility in AviSys (Utils | Update Master Checklist from Update File) to automatically update their own taxonomy.

That facility resolves all changes with the users' sighting data, and creates lists of exceptions where existing sightings need to be changed because of splits and lumps — such as when you were required to change your Rufous-sided Towhee records to Eastern Towhee or Spotted Towhee records. You are in complete control of changes made to your sighting records — that's much too dangerous a thing to be done by a computer program — and AviSys' advanced mass editing facilities make the job easy and safe. Generally, there are few actual sighting record changes required — even the most radical taxonomy changes in recent years resulted in only a few splits and lumps that required changes to actual sighting records for most birders. And, using the AviSys approach to splits and lumps, you usually don't have to make any changes to the records that represent the majority of your split or lumped sightings.

This unique combination of ease of mass editing, ease of mass distribution of a taxonomy update, and an automated taxonomy update, is unmatched and unprecedented in birding software. The other birding database programs either don't allow you to make any taxonomy changes at all, force users to go through the entire laborious change individually, or require the purchase of utilities. See below:

Comparison of other Birding Software taxonomy edit processes: