Taxonomic Editor

Please see for documentation or TaxonomicEditorDev for development resources.

This is the entry page for the TaxEditor, it needs to be updated!

The Taxonomic Editor is the desktop application used to edit data stored in a CDM database. It edits data in either

  1. a remote source, or

  2. a local data source embedded in the application.


| Current stable release | |
| All versions | |

Installation instructions may be found at the product website:


The goal of the Taxonomic Editor is to provide a next-generation tool that moves beyond the form-based data entry of web-based tools like the Berlin Model Web Editor

The core workflow is:

  1. the user enters data in a freetext area (the middle area in the above screenshot);

  2. the data is parsed on-the-fly, i.e. as it is entered;

  3. the user reviews whether the data has been parsed correctly in the structured data area on the right.

Thus, the Editor offers the familiarity and user-friendliness of word processing programs, while keeping the CDM data structure visible at all times.

A second defining feature of the Editor is that the user will be allowed to enter erroneous data. Rather than enforcing data integrity upon input, the user will be warned when any rules have been broken, using the red and yellow squiggly underlines used by word processing software to show grammatical and spelling errors. When the mouse hovers over data that has been marked as flawed, the error will be explained, along with possible corrections.

Good interface design keeps to a minimum the number of new movements or gestures a user must learn in order to use a new piece of software; these should then be applied in as many different contexts as possible, so that the software feels intuitive. Thus, in every part of the Editor, the left mouse button will be used to drag and drop data elements, for example, to drag a name from the search results list onto a synonym list; and the right mouse button will open up a context menu containing a list of possible commands that can be performed on the data element the mouse is pointing at.

Finally, note that the Editor is taxon-centric. Taxa are chosen from the left pane - from the taxonomic tree, recently viewed taxa, search, or favorites - and opened in the main editor area. At the bottom of each taxon editor area are tabs for individual taxon data categories, i.e. "Name", "Features", "Concepts", "Geography", etc.

User Guide

The user guide for the last stable version of the Taxonomic Editor is available here as pdf.

A separate documentation on how the name parser works is available on the name parser documentation site.


The Editor will be built using the Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP). This is a collection of Java libraries used to build the Eclipse Java development environment, essentially a word processing tool for Java developers. In essence, we will take the code used to program Eclipse and adapt it to the Editor. The RCP libraries include basic application functionality such as window management and operating system integration, as well as word processing features like autocomplete and syntax and error highlighting.

Use Cases / Requirements

A list of Taxonomic Editor functionality, based on the Berlin Model Web Editor, can be found under EditorRequirements.

Use cases for development of additional Editor modules can be found under PlatformUseCases.

A ConceptWorkshop was held in Berlin February 21-22, 2008 to discuss the design of the Editor, with a focus on the management of taxonomic concepts. The results of the workshop can be found here

Updated by Katja Luther almost 2 years ago · 99 revisions