Tracy How-to

Before you begin

Setting up Tracy for a work session
Adding and editing records

Before you begin

1. Make sure you have the proper system requirements and have Tracy correctly installed. Refer to the instructions for downloading and installing the program.

2. Make sure your screen is set to the right size display: 1024 x 768 pixels. Under Win95, this can be changed by right-clicking on the desktop. Select "Properties" from the menu, then "settings", then click on the sliding bar to adjust the screen size; click "OK". It will then ask you if the new setting is what you want. Tell it "Yes".

Loading up and logging in

1. Double-click on the Tracy shortcut icon or open Tracy from the Programs menu.

2. As the program loads, watch the message under the grass graphic. When it instructs you to hit a key or click on the image to enter, do so.

3. If you are a new user, click the "click here" button, enter your name, your user ID (the name you you will log in with), and the password you will use for each session. If you are an "old user", type in your user name (the name you log in with) and your password. You are now ready to customize Tracy to suit your needs.

Customizing your work environment

This will take only a few minutes each time, and we are planning to try to have it "remember" your preferences from session to session.

1 Tracy will show the screen which allows you to Pick Families for use in the Dropdown Lists. You may choose any number of families. You can pick a single family by double-clicking on it, dragging and dropping it, or highlighting it and hitting the ">" button. You can hold the shift key down and select a block of families to move, or you can click the ">>" button to have all the families available (this is often the easiest). Families may be removed from the loaded list by double clicking on them, dragging and dropping them back in the "pick-from" list, or highlighting them and hitting the "<" button. The "<<" button will clear the loaded list. When you are satisfied with your list, click "OK".

2. The screen now shows the Set Default Collection ID screen. When you select a default collection by clicking it and hitting "OK", Tracy will automatically add this to each record you enter. You may chose not to specify a default collection, but then you will have to add the collection ID to each record individually. At this point, you may also specify a new default collection if the one you want is not on the list. (It will be possible to change the collection default during an input session, so don't feel you are committing yourself irrevocably.)

If you choose, you can now change settings via the Tracy window (which will appear as a narrow horizontal bar at the top of the screen).

3. Opening the "System" menu will give you the option to exit or to go back to the log-in screen--this allows a change of operators without shutting down the system.

4. The Options menu will let you do a number of things.
---You can load dropdown lists with taxa--This gives the same menu as at startup, so you can change your preferences at any time.

---You can select default collection ID--This gives the same menu as at startup, so you can change your default at any time.

---You can change the Edit and Find displays--This feature allows you to chose which fields will be shown in the Edit window and the Find window. Check any or all of the features you want, hit the update forms button, then exit.

---You can change the Results display--You can select the fields you want shown as the result of a search and the order in which they are displayed. To add a field, double-click on it, drag and drop it, or highlight it and use the > key. Fields can be removed from the "display" list by double-clicking them, dragging and dropping them, or highlighting them and hitting the < arrow. The >> key will cause all the fields to be shown in the results display, and the << key will clear all items except the accession number and collection ID (these are required). You can arrange the fields by dragging and dropping them within the "display" list. When you are satisfied, hit "OK". (You can come back and change this at any time.)

Adding and editing records

A few notes about the Edit window: Adding new records is done from the same window that edits existing records. When the program loads, it will automatically bring up the first record in the database. Be careful! You want to be sure you aren't making changes to this record!

Across the bottom window is a row of buttons. "|<" will take you to the first record in the table, ">|" will take you to the last record, "<" will move you down one record, and ">" will move you up one record. The solid "^" indicates edit mode. "+" will insert a blank record for you to modify. "-" deletes whatever record is showing--be careful with this! The "checkmark" button posts the record with its additions or changes to the table and makes the data available to lookup tables and "use-last" functions. The "X" button cancels any changes made to the current record.

In most cases, you will move from field to field of the window with the tab key. You may also use the mouse. Wherever a drop-down list is available, it can be called up by clicking the little solid down-arrow button with the mouse or by hitting ALT and the down arrow simultaneously. The drop-down lists are type-ahead lists. Usually, it is only necessary to type a few letters to get the entry you want to the top of the list. When this happens, simply hit "enter" to put that item in the field.

Adding a new record

The Accession box

1. Use the "+" or the "New Record" button to move to a new, empty record. (Look at the "Item total" figure at the bottom of the Results window. This is the number of items in your database, not counting the one you are about to make.)

2. Type in the accession number and hit TAB. If you TAB twice, the Collection ID that you specified as default will be automatically added to the record. (Notice that the "Item total" figure has increased by one--you have made a record consisting of accession number and collection ID only.)

The Taxon box

1. The "use last" buttion in the upper right of the Taxon section is now highlighted. If you want this record to have exactly the same infomation as the record previously displayed, hit enter, otherwise, TAB to move to the Family field.

2. Enter the family. Again, you may call up the type-ahead drop-down list by hitting the ALT and down-arrow keys at the same time, or you can click the solid down-arrow box. Typing a few letters is usually enough to bring your selection to the top of the list--when it arrives there, hit enter or highlight it with the mouse and click on it. If the family name you want is not in the list, check to see that you have spelled it correctly. Remember that only the families you loaded into your drop-down lists will show up as options. (If you did not load all the families that you will need into your lookup tables, now would be a good time to review what you selected--it is the first item under "Options" in the Tracy window.) When entering a completely new family (one not in the BONAP table), be sure to use ALL CAPS so that it will match your other records. TAB to get to the next field.

3. Genus and species are filled in in the same manner as family. If adding a genus not in the BONAP list, use an initial capital followed by lower-case. Specific epithets should be added in all lower-case letters. "sp." can be entered for a specimen not identified to species.

4. Tri and Quad names can be added from drop-down lists in the same fashion. Sometimes, you will encounter a subspecific taxon that is not on the BONAP list. If you enter a new name, use ssp or var (no periods) in front of the name to make it match the other subspecific entries. If you have no Tri or Quad names, just TAB through these boxes.

5. BONAP Name ID and BONAP Taxon ID. If the name you entered conforms to BONAP nomenclature, these numbers will be automatically added.

The Collector Box

1. When you reach this box, the "use last" button in the upper right corner is highlighted. If you wish to use exactly the same information as in the previous record, hit "enter" or click with the mouse. (NOTE: You may want to do this even if just the collector is the same and you need to change the collection number or the date; it is often easier to change the last two items than it is to pick the collector from the drop down list over again.) As with the Taxon box, TAB to move betweeen fields.

2. Collector nameIf you need to input a different name, the drop down box works just like those in the Taxon box. If the name you start typing is not in the drop down list, the drop down list resets to its top. Continue typing the name and hit "enter" and then TAB if the drop down list is still open. If you type in a name without consulting the drop down list, just TAB when finished to move to the next box.

NOTE: Each herbarium should choose a standard way to structure collector names--Last, first or First Last, or Initial and Last, etc. It is also useful to decide beforehand whether abbreviated names will be expanded if the full name of the collector is confidently known or whether the users will be inputting the names exactly as they appear on the labels.

3. Collector specimen ID. This is the number the collector gave to the plant. It can be typed in or edited if already filled in by the "use last" button. A value of "s.n." [Latin: sine numero, without number] can be used if no collection number was assigned.

4. Begin date. This is either the sole complete date appearing on the label or the first day of a multi-day collecting effort. Dates are entered MM/DD/YYYY, so that March 4, 1965 would be 03/04/1965. (Note: If this field has been filled using the "use last" button and you want to change it, you must type the whole field; the programs will not accept partial edits.)

5. End date. If the specimen bears a multi-day collecting date, the last complete date is entered here.

6. Other date. This field is for dates that are incomplete, such as "summer, 1996", "March 1945",

or "1963". If the label bears no date at all, "n.d." (no date) can be entered here.

The Location Box

1. When you reach this box, the "use last" button in the upper right corner is highlighted. If you wish to enter exactly the same information as the previous record, hit "enter" or click with the mouse. (Note: you may want to do this even if you are planning to edit one or more of the fields--for example, if the state and country are the same, it is faster to "use last" if that much is the same and only the county is different.)

2. Place name. This drop down list functions like all the others. If you are adding a new name, hit "enter" and TAB if the drop down list is open, just TAB if the list is closed. If no concrete place name can be gleaned from the label, TAB past to leave it blank.

NOTE: Experience has shown that it is most useful to restrict this list to town names, names of parks, cemeteries, campgrounds, etc., and to exclude addresses, junctions, direction and distance info, and linear markers such as rivers and roads. Each herbarium will develop its own set of place names as data entry progresses--you will probably want to establish some conventions. For example--how far outside a city can a location be and still have the city recorded for the place name? (TAMU uses a 1 mile criterion.)

3. County. This drop down list functions like all the others. If adding a new county while the drop down list is open, type the name , hit "enter", and then TAB to the next field; if the list is closed, just type the name and TAB to the next field.

4. State. Two-letter U.S. postal codes come loaded into the program and can be selected from the drop down list. Other states (from non-U.S. countries) can be added in the same way information is added to other lists. (Note: As silly as it sounds, users should review which abbreviations go with which states--AL is not Alaska, and AK is not Arkansas.)

5. Country. Three-letter codes can be used in this drop down list, or the full names of countries can be spelled out. Data entry and list properties are the same as for all the other fields.

The Misc. Box

This box contains fields that the TAMU herbarium uses. Your institution may choose to use some of them or all of them. This is how they work for TAMU:

1. Use last. This loads up all the information that was in the preceeding record, except for the cultivation status.

2. Cultivation. The default condition is a gray arrow designating "no information available" or "uncertain". Hitting the spacebar (or clicking) once yields a black arrow, indicating "definitely cultivated", hitting the spacebar (or clicking) again, clears the box to indicate "definitely not from cultivation." TAB takes you to the next field.

3. Local Collection ID. This field can be used to indicate subdivisons of a collection. For example, TAMU has some some specimens in the "teaching" collection, but most are in the "main" collection.

4. Place ID. TAMU has assigned two-digit codes for some of our more specific, frequently collected areas. These codes predate the use of Tracy, and many duplicate the information found in the Place Name field, but they can still be useful. For example, we can code for wet parts of Flynn Bog or the drier uplands around the bogs. TAMU also has a code to indicate that the specimen is a voucher for rbcL sequence data. Default for this field is 99.

5. Nomen. Short for "Nomenclator", this field can be used to indicate the authority for the identity or for the name. In most cases, names at TAMU match the BONAP accepted name (which is indicated by KZ for Kartesz), but sometimes someone else's classification or nomenclature is being followed. Examples of codes in use are BA= Hortus Third by the Baily Hortorium Staff (for cultivated plants), FN= Flora of North America, GL= Gould's Grasses of Texas, and so on.

6. Notes. This field is used for brief, unambiguous notes such as, "sheet 1 of 2", "holotype", "collector probably so-and-so", "species x also present on sheet". This field should be used sparingly.

Posting the completed Record to the database

When all the data has been entered exactly as desired, clicking the "check" button adds the record to the database and makes the data available for the "use last" function in the next record. Or, you can TAB again, which highlights the "New Record" button at the top of the form. Hitting the space bar posts the record to the table and allows you to start entering data for a new record.

Editing Records

Editing a record uses the same features and the same functions as adding a record. You can bring up a record to be edited in one of three ways. You can use the FIND function and search for the accession number, or you can use the "New Record" button, type the accession number, and TAB twice to load the record into the editor. You can also click on any record displayed in the Results window. After that, use the tab and/or the mouse to move through the record, making corrections and using the drop down lists as necessary. When finished, clicking the "check" button or using TAB to go back up to "New Record" posts the changes to the table.