ABACUS is continually updated and this page shows some of the recent updates that have been made available to all ABACUS users. These changes listed here represent just a small number of the changes and new features we make in each new update. More information is available in the Features or Showcase sections of this website.
The ABACUS October 2021 update included two major new features, custom major biomass groups and survey statuses, and a host of improvements and changes to other areas.
Survey Status and Dashboard Grouping
The status of a survey can now be recorded and this status is used to improve the display of the main dashboard page by grouping and separating surveys based on their status. Surveys currently in analysis (Live) are then separated from those in planning, reporting and archived states.
ABACUS users are able to define their own statuses (relevant to their own in-house processes) and simply associate these statuses with a category (Live, Planned, Reporting, Archived) to realise this functionality.
Custom Major Biomass Groups
Major groups when performing biomass to the major group level of accuracy can now be customised according to each subscriber’s requirements. The ABACUS defaults (Animalia, Mollusca, Annelida, Crustacea and Echinodermata) are available as standard but all can be adjusted as needed.
The ABACUS September 2021 update included three major additional new features (single sign on, application configuration and separation of colonial and present taxa identifications) as well as many other improvements.
Single Sign On
ABACUS can now be configured to allow single sign on using the Microsoft account provided by your organisation.
If your organisation does not use Microsoft the default option of an ABACUS username and password is still available and we can also work with you to enable single sign on using other providers.
To provide further customisation of ABACUS for each organisation a selection of options can now be set directly using ABACUS. This enables ABACUS users to customise their experience with ABACUS and how it works for them.
Colonial and Present
Based on a request from ABACUS users, that they sometimes need to record that a taxa is present (without providing specific counts) but is not a colony-forming species, we have changed how presence/colonial data is recorded. Separate check boxes for Presence and Colonial are now available.
The ABACUS August 2021 update focuses on three areas: Reports, Bulk Actions and Internal QC (Quality Checking).
A new dedicated reporting section is being added, providing further reporting capabilities. Reports being added at this point will include:
- Analysis Progress - detailed facts and figures about the progress of sample analyses with ability to summarise by survey and analyst
- Reference Collection - full details of reference collection codes by survey
As part of our drive to improve productivity the first of our bulk actions will be made available to log in samples in bulk
Internal QC (Quality Checking)
Upon completion of Identification QC tasks in Macrobenthic analysis, a QC report will be produced to document differences in taxonomic and abundance data between determinations during the QC process.
The ABACUS June 2021 update focuses on a change to the naming and behaviour of fields when using the WoRMS Taxa Search tool and the first implementation of bulk actions to speed up the entry of sample analysis data.
Identification field names / WoRMS Search
Slight tweaks to the naming of the fields were required to clarify the use of Original Name when entering data directly into ABACUS compared with an Original Name when data, often historic, is imported in bulk and the original name must remain unchanged. The change included:
- Addition of an Imported Name field (used only when using the import module to import a taxa matrix)
- Relabelling Original Name to Name on the Identification pages to clarify it's use as a name that has not yet been validated against the WoRMS taxa list, but is also not necessarily an 'original name'
Bulk Log In Samples
Features added to complete the Log In Sample task in bulk. The task can be marked as Finished for all samples in a survey at the same time and optionally a task time can be entered.
The ABACUS April 2021 update focused on the addition of the Taxa Matrix import and included other improvements.
Taxa Matrix Import
The ability to import taxa matrix data in bulk using the import module will be added. This includes a new template file, based on the MEDIN Taxa Matrix template, and includes guidance on the structure and data types to correctly prepare an import file.
Comprehensive validation is included to ensure taxa identifications are linked to the correct samples and replicates and abundance values are correct.