Computer Techniques In Bryology
More than a dozen members and friends attended this meeting, 18-20 November, in the Botany Department, University of Bristol, with the expertise of participants ranging from the relative beginner to the fully proficient.
After a run-through of the basics of the microcomputer and its facilities by Brian O’Shea, a number of speakers demonstrated various packages and programs designed to operate on IBM PC compatible machines such as the Amstrad PCs. Phil Stanley spoke on word processing, illustrated by a demonstration of Word Perfect. Brian O’Shea gave a talk and demonstration on the use of spreadsheets and database programs and then went on to demonstrate graphics facilities offered by programs such as PC Paintbrush and the use of a ‘mouse’. The Saturday session finished with a demonstration by Paddy Coker on his use of Decorana and Twinspan in analysing data on epiphytic bryophytes collected by him in Ireland, using his own, largely custom-built, machine.
Most of the group spent an enjoyable evening after the Saturday’s programme at a nearby Italian restaurant.
Sunday commenced with a further talk by Brian O’Shea on herbarium management programs, followed by Alain Empain from Belgium who gave an impressive outline of programs which he had devised (TaxDoc and HyperGraph) for computerised handling of taxonomic descriptions in both French and English and of illustrations. Demonstration disks were distributed to all participants.
In the afternoon Alan Morton demonstrated his mapping program DMap, which allows dot maps at any scale to be drawn over a given outline. Jeff Bates showed the program in use with Berkshire bryophytes.
Throughout the weekend the IAB Software library was available for members at the meeting to try out on the machines or to take copies for their own future use. Many participants took full advantage of this. The library includes a wide variety of programs from word processing to statistics.
All found the meeting an enjoyable and profitable exchange of information. Our thanks to the local organiser of the workshop, Denis Brown and to all the speakers and demonstrators for freely giving their time and expertise.