At the heart of WATTLE is a Lucid identification key which allows users to quickly and accurately identify any species of wattle in Australia. The key is a truly random access tool, which allows the characteristics of the wattle specimen to be entered in any order. The key then sorts out those species possessing the characteristics nominated, rejecting those that do not match the criteria entered. By progressively answering additional characteristics the key will eventually narrow the results to just one or a few matching species.
Before attempting to use WATTLE to identify an Acacia species, you should first become familiar with the identification key by scrolling through the Features list, and viewing the different options for each. This will give you an idea of what you should be looking for in the specimen you want to identify, and make it easier for you to proceed through the key.
Returning to the Features list, since you can answer any Feature from any position in the list, it is best to proceed first to those Features which are distinctive and you are confident in answering to describe your specimen. By working through the key by addressing those Features that you can easily answer, you will quickly reduce the number of species left in the Remaining list. N
If you are uncertain which Feature state is the correct one to choose for the particular specimen you are examining, select additional states that you think could also be correct. The Lucid software is designed to allow you to choose as many states as you require from any one feature since, within the program's logic, these states will be connected by an "or" link. As such, Lucid will search for species that match any of the states you have selected. As a general rule, if you are unsure which of the states your specimen has, then choose them all: that way, you can be sure that you do not remove a species from the Remaining list that could be the species you are identifying.
When you have answered all of the obvious Features, you have the option of using the Lucid “Find Best” function to suggest the next best feature to look at. Find Best can be invoked by tapping on the wand icon in the main toolbar. By selecting "Find Best" the software will calculate and move you to the next best Feature. If the suggested Feature is one you would have difficulty in answering, use Find Best again to suggest the next best Feature to address.
This will happen sooner or later in one of your identification sessions. If there are no species listed in the Remaining list, this simply means that no species in the identification key match the Feature selections you have made. There are several explanations possible, the most common being that you have made an error in one or more of the Features that you have answered. Therefore, carefully review the Fact Sheets and the selections you have made, and decide which ones you are uncertain about. Try unselecting the Features you are uncertain about one by one, and observe what effect it has on the Remaining list. Otherwise, it may be that the species you have found is not currently recorded in the identification key.
Sometimes, after you have answered all the relevant Features that you are able to, you may still have several species remaining in the Remaining list. However, you are still much closer to an identification than you otherwise would have been and another option you have to help you identify your specimen is the “Differences” function. You can access Differences from the main toolbar.
Once you have made a preliminary identification, check the information and images in the Fact Sheet for the remaining species to confirm the identification, or return and review your selected Features, or use the Differences function, to recheck the list of Remaining species.