The accurate identification of specimens is a fundamental part of most forms of biological fieldwork. Although the 'popular' groups, such as wild flowers and butterflies, are well-served by numerous aids to identification, many of the other groups are neglected. Unfortunately, even in those cases where guides are available, they may be inappropriate or inapplicable.
The AIDGAP (Aids to Identification in Difficult Groups of Animals and Plants) range of books is designed to provide clearly written and illustrated guides to enable the non-specialist to identify specimens in the field and lab.
Although written and edited by specialists, all AIDGAP guides are extensively tested before final publication. This ensures that the keys are subjected to extensive field tests by beginners and people with little or no experience in the groups being covered.
The principal objectives of the AIDGAP project are to:
- Pinpoint those groups for which the difficulty in identification is due to the absence of a simple and accurate key
- Produce simple, well illustrated and clearly written aids to identification
- Investigate alternative ways in which identification material can be presented
AIDGAP test versions are sent to a selection of people drawn from a wide range of experiences. Most test versions are sent as downloadable PDF files, although printed versions are available on request. Testing lasts from three to twelve months.
If you would like to be involved with testing, please send your name, postal address and e-mail address to the AIDGAP co-ordinator.
There is currently one new AIDGAP guide at the test stage: Slugs of Britain and Ireland You can download a free pdf from this site (pdf, 5.7MB). Deadline for comments 20 July 2013. Please note that the pdf shows the key and associated identitification characters only.
We are keen to know of any problems or suggested improvements for existing AIDGAP guides. The guides are periodically revised, so any comments can be used to refine the guides for future users. Alternatively, if there are features which you feel should be maintained in the series, then please let us know. We would also be grateful for suggestions towards future projects. Establishing where there is a need is one of the principal objectives of the AIDGAP project.