DELTA Workshop in Canberra, 3-7 May 1993

Eric Zurcher ericz at
Thu Mar 18 18:33:46 EST 1993

                Introduction to the DELTA System

               (DEscription Language for TAxonomy)

                        *** a workshop ***

                         May 3rd-7th 1993

                           ANU - CSIRO

The DELTA (DEscription Language for TAxonomy) format is the
internationally recognized standard for coding descriptive taxonomic
information. The associated programs, which have been under
development since the mid 1970's, have facilities for maintaining
data, producing natural-language descriptions and keys, interactive
identification and information retrieval, and converting data to
formats required by programs for cladistic and phenetic analysis.

Large sets of data have already been prepared for flowering-plant
families, grasses, sedges, legumes, beetles (adult and larvae),
plant viruses, etc. Some incorporate numerous line, grey-scale,
and colour illustrations. Several are available on the Internet
(see below) and will be available at the workshop.

The DELTA system combines traditional taxonomic practice with
modern information science to produce a key tool of the emerging
science of bioinformatics. A working knowledge of the system is a
valuable skill for all invlved n the practice or teaching of
biological information storage, analysis, and dissemination.

The workshop will be restricted to about 20 participants, working
singly or in pairs on MS-DOS muicrocomputers. It will be led by
Drs Mike Dallwitz (CSIRO Division of Entomology) and Les Watson
(Research School of Biological Science, ANU), and colleagues.

                             WORKSHOP PROGRAM


Monday          Character lists and data coding. Checks.
                Natural-language descriptions.

Tuesday         Interactive identifications and information
                retrieval (INTKEY).

Wednesday       Generating printed keys; optimizing by weighting
                and parameter adjustments.

Thursday        Typesetting. Diagnostic and group descriptions,
                Extracting subsets. Images.

Friday          Phenetic and cladistic programs. Tree comparisons.


Development by participants of their own data sets.
Exploration of existing data sets.


The cost of the workshop is AU$125 for the week. This includes course notes,
program discs, & morning/afternoon teas and two social functions.


BioInformatics Seminar Room, Research School of Biological Sciences,
Institute of Advanced Studies, Australian National University,
Canberra, Australia

For further information, registration forms, or inclusion on the mailing
list for future DELTA Workshops please mail or fax your request to:

        Plant Science Centre Workshops, RSBS ANU
        GPO Box 475 Canberra 2601

        Phone: +6-249-2878; Fax: +6-247-5896

or email to:

        delta at

Note: Workshop places are limited and enrolment is on a first come basis.

Copies of DELTA programs and data can be obtained via Internet from
the Taxacom ftp server:

path            /pub/software/delta (and subdirectories)
login           anonymous
password        your email address


Future Plant Science Centre Workshops:

* Plant Genetic Engineering and Transformation
* Plant Tissue Culture for Molecular Biology
* Applications of DNA Analysis to Plant Breeding and Biodiversity Assessment
* Application of Antibody Techniques to Plant Biology
* Modern Techniques n Plant Breeding and Preparing New Varieties for Plant
  Variety Rights (PVR) Registration
* Introduction to Plant Molecular Biology

This posting by:

Eric Zurcher
CSIRO Division of Entomology
Canberra, Australia
E-mail: ericz at
Phone: +61 6 246 4218

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