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Users should be familiar with the basics of Linnean classification and the organization of the Dinoflagellate Index (Fensome and Williams, 2004) and the dinoflagellate classification of Fensome et al., 1993b, to use DINOFLAJ2 effectively.

There are three main types of data in DINOFLAJ2:

  1. taxonomic entries (e.g., genera, species, and suprageneric taxa such as families, orders, etc.)
  2. bibliographic entries (i.e. references)
  3. glossary entries (i.e. definitions of terms used in the suprageneric classification)

For all three types of data, there are multiple ways to search for and view a given entry: some of the methods are the same as the MediaWiki software implements (so experience with the Wikipedia will help you use DINOFLAJ2); some others are conventions peculiar to DINOFLAJ2.

The menu at the left side of the screen provides access to the home page (called "Main Page" – also accessible by clicking on the orange and green stylized dinoflagellate logo), and multiple search and browsing methods. You can:

  1. Start at the top of the dinoflagellate classification "Tree" (i.e. Division Dinoflagellata) and work your way through the Linnean hierarchy down to any taxon;
  2. Select from a hierarchical "Table" of the suprageneric classification
  3. Browse a list of Family entries
  4. Browse an alphabetical list of Genera
  5. Browse an alphabetical list of Species, or subspecific taxa (ordered by the epithet)
  6. Browse an alphabetical list of bibliographic References
  7. Browse an alphabetical list of Glossary entries
  8. In versions postdating the initial version of DINOFLAJ2, browse a list of Recent Changes to DINOFLAJ2
  9. use the "Go" or "Search" buttons after entering some text in the associated box.

The "Go" button will attempt to show an exact match for what you have entered, and take you directly to that entry. For example, if you want to see the entry for Gonyaulacysta jurassica, you can type this into the box and press "Go". If you press the "Search" button instead, DINOFLAJ2 will search all entries for any occurrence of the phrase Gonyaulacysta jurassica, and present a list of matching entries from which you can select. Both techniques work for any entry or text string, but some conventions exist for the names of the entries:

  1. Homonyms are distinguished by adding the author citation to names. For example, to view Meristaulax granulata would require typing in "Meristaulax granulata Brenner 1988" or "Meristaulax granulata Klement 1960", whichever was of interest. If you do not know the author names, try "Search" instead – titles of matching entries are shown first. Alternatively, browse to the relevant taxon using the other techniques.
  2. In the Index, Appendix A contains species names combined with genera not (or no longer) assigned to the dinoflagellates; and Appendix B contains species names combined with modern genera. In DINOFLAJ2, names from these appendices are distinguished from names in the "main index" by the appended terms "Appendix A" or 'Appendix B" after the name. (Note: if the names are also homonyms, the "Appendix" term is added after the author.) Appendix entries can also be found by browsing the taxon lists or using Search.
  3. Bibliographic citations are in the conventional form and punctuation. For example:

Entry of accented characters is browser-dependent (check your browser documentation), but if it poses problems, it is always possible to access an entry through the alphabetical lists, or by doing a partial match using "Search".

Once an entry is displayed, various links within the entry allow further navigation. The list of "Categories" at the bottom indicates the categories to which this entry has been assigned. Some of these lists are extremely long, so you may wish to avoid accessing them for performance reasons (the server may take a while to provide them, and some browsers have difficulty displaying the long lists). A special Category, "Parent", will take you to the parent of a taxonomic entry. Some entries also have "children" (e.g., species assigned to a genus), which will be presented as a list towards the bottom of the entry. Clicking on the links will take you to the relevant entry.

In general, hypertext links are shaded blue (though this may change depending upon your browser configuration). A red link in a taxonomic entry means that the link does not point to an existing page, usually due to error on our part. If you find such links, please let us know.