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Create a checklist, how-to

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.

Creating your own 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 likely filter (called location filter in the mobile apps). Open the checklist options to enable/configure the likely filter. This filters down to species you have already seen at a particular location.

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

Open the library screen by pressing the Library menu button, then select the Custom tab:

Press New Item, and select Checklist 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, enter a location name as the location range. This identifies where the checklist is relevant and will be offered for input. All items in the library require a location range to be defined, helping to reduce clutter. You can add multiple locations to define the range for which the checklist is relevant.

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 checklist picker, to eg. enable entry of subspecies.

Entering the species is then the remaining and main task. Type into the Species input field to see and select species suggestions. When a species is selected it will be added to the list of species on the left, and the Species field will be emptied ready to type the next species.  If you would prefer to check species from a list instead of typing names, then you can toggle the Checklist View switch.

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 Item button.

Once you're happy with the checklist, press Save. It will then be available to select as a checklist, when entering an entry for a location within the specified location range.

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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