When entering determinations it would be great if there could a flag/warning to let the user know when the teaxon that they have entered does not match the prefered taxon. This would make it easier to see that the name they are using is a synonym.
Our team has suggested that the preferred taxon field changing colour would be a good way to flag this.
If this could be a user preference that would be great.
Perhaps I don’t understand your meaning, and it might help to have more detail about your suggestion. My interpretation of your post is that you want to know that you have used the preferred taxon, and that you don’t want to use a synonym. This is perhaps not the universal need. For example, many scientists will want to capture data from labels ‘verbatim’, including capturing the scientific name appearing on the label even if it is a synonym. In fact, that is arguably the reason why there is a preferred taxon. In other words, you can have the best of both worlds, the verbatim name on the label and the preferred taxon. When you export data from your database you can choose which name you would like displayed, or you can display both. This is also why you can have more than one determination (but one must be current): so that you can preserve all the taxonomic information related to the specimen.
It’s possible that the suggestion of the preferred name changing color might be confusing.
In our standard form for entering data in the invertebrate collections of NHMD we have the field with preferred taxon positioned just beneath the one where we enter the label identification. The preferred taxon pops up there when we enter a name that is in the taxon tree, and thus we can immediately see if the label identification is presently considered a synonym.
As Willem says this gives us the full information, and the label ID is important because a request for a loan for example often refers to what somebody published under that name, rather than what we might call it today.
We record multiple determinations for our specimens, including label name, determinations, fide, typification. We use the ‘Is Current’ flag to indicate which of the several determinations a specimen could have to indicate which one the specimen should be filed under. In general we want to try and avoid filing a specimen under a synonym.
We have the preferred taxon underneath the taxon field, so it can be checked, however when processing large numbers of specimens it can be easy to miss that there is a difference in the two fields.
I agree that for certain workflows it may be that this could be confusing, whichi is why a preference that could be enabled/disabled may be the way forward, so that it can be set by individual users/institutions.