The User Interface

TaxonWorks offers conventions via a unique user interface building in forward-aware methods like automated data validation to aid navigation and data fitness.


  • TW seeks to offer a user interface (UI) that is as intuitive as possible that supports elegant software features to improve both the experience and the data products.
  • This guide and manual exemplify one way in which the Species File Group and TaxonWorks endeavor to build a sustainable, open, transparent community. The software and process for building and maintaining the content here were selected specifically for ease of community curation of this resource.
  • The structure, tasks, and features of TW focus on addressing specifically-stated needs of those using the product. We use an agile, "epic story" approach that can be summarized as: As a [your role], I want to do [your task], in order to accomplish [some product].
  • Note color conventions used in the TW UI offer information to orient the observer to more information (e.g. this task is still under development, or these data are shared across projects).

Logging in

This screenshot provides a quick overview of the TW User Interface after log in. In the caption, you will find brief descriptions of each highlighted feature. If you have an account, please log in and click to try header menu options.

Legend: The TaxonWorks User Interface after signin. See items explained next
  • In the header menu (left-to-right), click
    • TaxonWorks to return to this Dashboard view
    • (copy) software version number (e.g. v0.28.0)
    • Issues to submit an idea or issue to GitHub
    • Project to manage a specific project
    • Administration to see/access all projects you administer
    • Account to access your own account information
    • Sign out/in

In the main section (left-to-right): click items under the headers. Options under Projects give you access to all your projects. With Data you can view recently created data added for that project. With Preferences you can order the User Interface hub options Tasks, Data, and Favorites.

  • On the far bottom right, note the four icons (top to bottom).
    • Click a half-circle icon on the right side to open a panel

The red circle opens the PDF Document viewer. The green circle gives you a Pinboard to access frequently used items like source PDFs. With the blue circle, you get a Clipboard for frequently used text. The orange circle provides built-in context-dependent Help.


Next, for any given Project you select, notice the UI changes once you click Administration for that Project. In the Administration module you can, for example: see/add project members, and control permissions. In any TW sandbox, you can add yourself to other projects using the Administration link. See next for more about the Administraion tools.

Legend: The TaxonWorks Project Administration UI. See options explained next.

In the main section under Projects you can click to create a New Project or use Projects overview to find a Project and add a current TW user as a member.

From the Users section, you have options to add a New user, add multiple users using Batch add new, List all users, and see the Activity for all Projects and Users.

Under the Data topic, using Overview you can create specific reports for different data types and projects. With Health you find any data issues that the TW software has detected. Reindex opens an option for you to create Darwin Core (standard) occurrence records.

Add New Project

Legend: Add New Project UI
  • To create a New Project
    • Click Administration in the header menu,
    • then under Projects click New
    • Enter the desired Name in the field provided
    • You are a member by default.
      • Uncheck if creating for others.
    • For the API access token you select
      • Generate new token if you want to be able to access your data programatically
      • clear api access token if you need / want to stop all public programatic access to your data.
    • Click Create Project.

As a result, your Dashboard list will include the new Project. If for some reason you find you need to edit the name of your project, it's also editable after creation.

Adding folks to projects

Users need to be added to TW before they can become Project members. Once a user, they can be added as members, to any project desired. If you are flagged as an administrator you can do everything in the workbench. As an admin, you see the Adminstration link in the header menu. Feel free to add users to your sandbox through the Administration link. If you do, please provide them a link to this Terms of Use Pageopen in new window and our Collaboration Understandingopen in new window.

Sandbox Only: Feel free to add yourself to projects that are currently not visible to you. Steps to do this:

  • Click Administration (top right)
  • Click Projects overview (on left)
  • Click List
  • Review the list, select one using Double click for that row
  • Click Add project member, find your name
  • Click Create Project member

Add New User

Before adding anyone to the list of TW Users, please check the list as someone may already be in the TW Community through another project. In this case, you'll need to add them to your project as a new member. If they do need a User account, see the following steps.

  • Signin to TaxonWorks
  • Select the Project of interest
  • Click Administration in the header menu
  • Then under Users, click list to search existing list.
  • If you do not find the name / email you are looking for, go back one step to Users and click New and fill out the form.
    • Type their Name
    • Enter their Email
    • Provide a Password (It will be temporary, they will need to reset it).
    • Retype the Password
    • (Optional) select Is administrator if you want them to have this role.
    • (Optional) select the matching Person if they are in TaxonWorks.
    • (Optional) select Generate new api access token if desired for a User that wants to query the TW Project database programmatically.
  • Send the new User (and soon-to-be Project member) an email with instructions to read the Terms of Use Pageopen in new window and our Collaboration Understandingopen in new window. They will also need to reset password.

Note: you can also go to Batch add new to add many users at one time (see under Administration > Users > Batch add new) and you will need their email and name string for each new user.

Note: in TaxonWorks a Person differs from a User. To be a Person in TaxonWorks, you have been vetted and with best practice, you have a globally unique identifier (e.g. an ORCiD or Wikidata Q number).

Add Project Member

When you want to add an existing TW User to a Projectsee these steps:

  • After signin, select the desired Project
  • Then click Project in the header menu
  • Under Members click Add project member
  • Search the User and once found, click to select
  • (Optional) select Is administrator if desired
  • Click Create Project member
  • (Optional) you may want to send the new Project members an email if need be with a link to the new project.

If you need to add many folks at one time, use the Add many project members option instead. (See Project > Members > Add many project members) and select the desired individuals and click Create project members.

Inside a Project

Note that once you log into a given project, you see 3 options for interacting with others and data. See the Tasks, Data, and Favorites tabs.

The Tasks provide you with one-click access to working on a specific activity such as Filter Sources for the ones you seek or Comprehensive Digitization of specimen data.

  • currently 80 tasks exist in TW
  • tasks can be customized
  • new tasks can be written
  • you can search tasks
  • tasks are associated with given global concepts (e.g. Nomenclature, Source, Biology, Collection object, Collecting event, Image, Matrix, dna, etc.)

With the Favorites tab, you can store your most-used tasks (aka activities) for quick access to what you do most often.

  • To add a task to appear in your Favorites tab, click the 'star' on the task card.

The Data tab provides you with more of a traditional table view of information as stored in TW. Here you begin to get a sense of how the data are structured and related in TW.

If you would like more details about the TW Data Model, see the Dataopen in new window section of

Explore TW Tasks

With your knowledge of the Tasks, Data, and Favorites structure you can try these actions.

  1. Find a Task of interest, click on the star and then click on the Favorites tab. You'll see this task listed now for easy access.

  2. ...

Icons in TaxonWorks

Some icons in TaxonWorks help you move around (i.e. "navigate") in the software. Other icons touch the database, providing you with functions to add data or delete something. In TaxonWorks, icon button colors convey this idea.

  • Green buttons = write to the database
  • Red buttons = delete from the database
  • Blue buttons = activate something in the interface

Note also, all icons with a blue circle and white middle are Radials and serve to help you add information to (i. e. to annotate) the object you are looking at (e. g. the Source publication record, the CollectionObject record, the Collecting Event record, the TaxonName record, etc). In other words, a tool found many places in TW, that integrates commonly used functions or tasks for annotating things (adding related information) in one place. The particular functions found after click are context dependent.

IconIcon NamePurpose of Icon
Radial Icons in TaxonWorksuse these to add information to the current object of interest, move to a different area in TW, or select objects of interest. The particular functions found after click show you what types of information you can add or actions you can take.
Annotate Radialuse this to add information to the current object of interest. The particular functions found after click are show you what types of information you can add.
Navigate Radialuse this icon to move across to different areas in TaxonWorks
Mass Annotate Radialuse this icon to add information to many records at once in TaxonWorks
Filter Radialuse this icon to select a set of records from a search in TaxonWorks using the Filter task (e. g. Filter Nomenclature, Filter Sources, Filter Collection Objects, etc.)
Quick Forms Radialuse this to bring up commonly used forms associated with OTUs, such as Asserted distributions or Biological Associations
Label Radialuse this to create labels
Linker Radialuse this to send selected results from a filtered search to another Task in TaxonWorks to further refine your data subset
Loan Radialselect objects to loan or that are being returned
Browse Taxamoves you from a taxon name to its associated OTU
Browse Nomenclaturetakes you from an OTU to its associated taxonomic name
PinboardAdd (if green) or Remove (if red) an item from your Pinboard. If the icon is blue, the item has been selected as the default in your pinboard and you can add it to a field automatically, for example, with literature citations.
EditWith this icon, you may edit a given item. For example, from the Browse nomenclature page, this icon takes you to the Edit taxon name page associated with the taxon.
TrashcanUse this to remove the current record from the database

Did you know

  • As of this writing, you can only be logged into one instance (one project) of TW at-a-time.
  • You can write your own tasks in TW? Ask us how.