[Version 4] Create a checklist, how-to

Note: This article is for an older version. For the current version see this article.

Bird Journal has two related concepts, taxonomies and checklists. Checklists differ in that they do not define names of species like a taxonomy, instead they reference a taxonomy to indicate presence of a species or subspecies. This makes them easier to create and update, and allows them to benefit from improvements to the underlying taxonomy.

For example, Bird Journal has checklists covering most countries of the world, using both the IOC and Clements taxonomies. These are all available via the library and can be installed using any of the apps.

A custom checklist can be helpful for a number of reasons. Perhaps you're planning a trip somewhere new and want to have the the most appropriate list of species to enter from. Or perhaps you visit the same patch often, and taking the time to create a list of the common species, even for the particular season, will make data entry faster.

It is worth noting that you can often get a good list of common species to enter from using the location filter in entry options. (On Windows, this is available when using the Add using Checklist screen) This filters down to species you have already seen at a particular location.

To create a custom checklist, you need to use the Windows desktop software. A free account is sufficient.

Open the library screen, then click on the Custom tab:

Click Create New, and leave Checklist selected in the screen that opens. You can choose to either create a checklist from scratch, or copy and existing one. Which is the easiest approach may depend on how different the checklist will be. If copying an existing checklist, remember to install it first, so that it appears in the list to copy from.

Here, we'll create a checklist from scratch to better show all the steps required. After pressing OK, you'll see the main checklist editor screen:

Start by giving your checklist a name. Something like Birds of the Garden or Moths of Cambridge will do nicely.

Next, set the location range. This identifies where the checklist is relevant and will be offered. All items in the library require a location range to be defined, helping to reduce clutter. Click on the blue link text.  You will see the location range editor screen:

Clicking on the down button at the right of the selected row (circled above), will present a list of locations to choose from. You can add multiple locations to define the range for which the checklist is relevant. Press OK when you're done.

Next, you'll want to make sure you have the right taxonomy selected. As mentioned earlier, checklists reference species and subspecies in a taxonomy. They can even reference species from multiple taxonomies if you wish. Just change the taxonomy before entering. The same options for species entry are available via the Options button, to eg. enable entry of subspecies.

Entering the species is then the remaining and main task. Type into the Name column, as you would when entering observations. The same auto-suggestions will be available. You need to click on the correct part of the row first. Then click again to begin entry, or press a key.

After entering a few species, the screen will look a little like this:

You can change species by entering a new value, or delete the row using the Delete button.

Once you're happy with the list, press OK. It will then be available to select as a checklist, when entering an entry for a relevant location.

If you've created a checklist that you think will be useful to others, please consider publishing it to the Bird Journal library, using the Publish button:

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