How to use Matchmaker : Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest (MMPNW)

When Matchmaker : Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest (MMPNW) appears on the screen, there is a list of Latin names of mushrooms on the left side. To view the description of a species, click with the mouse on a species then click the Show Description button. The description will come up on the right side of the screen.

If you wish to see an illustration of a species marked with an asterisk, click the species then click Show Illustrations. There may be more than one illustration for the species. To look at all the illustrations, navigate through them using the buttons marked ">" and "

If you wish to see information on a family or genus, or wish to see the species listed in a different way, click on List in the Menu at the top, then scroll to the appropriate option. For more information on the List menu see Menu Help.

Click on Matchmaker in the menu at the top, then on Make a New Match. This will bring up a multipage Entry Form. Click on the check boxes that correspond to the mushroom you are trying to identify. Note that you can click on more than one check box in each category. For instance if the cap is both yellow and violet, or if some caps in a cluster are yellow and some are violet, click on both. If there are only a few streaks of violet on a yellow cap, check only yellow. Leave everything blank that you do not know. Generally START WITH THE ONE TO EIGHT MOST DISTINCT CHARACTERS you observe rather than including all that you know. When you are ready, click SHOW MATCHES to bring up a list of mushrooms that fit the characteristics you have chosen. You can then read the description for any of the matching species to see if it fits, by clicking on the Latin name and then clicking the Show Description button.

If your specimen has very distinctive features, there may be only one species matched. Usually however there will be several species that match the features you have entered about equally well.

If there are 10 species or less, read the descriptions for those species to see if there is a good fit. If one of the descriptions fits well, you have found your species. If not, either the species is not included in the program, or one of the characters you entered is not mentioned in the description. (This may be because the character is wrong or because it is assumed or left out of the description.) There are three options for finding the correct species. One is to click Change the Match on the MatchMaker menu, and uncheck a character before clicking SHOW MATCHES again. This is most useful when you have entered 2 to 4 characters, and one could be described differently or not mentioned in the description. Another option is to click Change the Match on the MatchMaker menu, and enter all the characters that you know before clicking SHOW MATCHES again. This is useful when there are not obvious distinct characters. A third option is to use the Reduce Match by 10% button, which appears at the bottom of the main window rather than the Entry Form. This is most useful when there are a large number of characters checked.

If there are more than 10 species, you may read all the descriptions given, or read the descriptions with the highest percentage match, or you may narrow your choices. There are two options for narrowing choices. The first and the preferred method is to select Change the Match on the Matchmaker menu. Add another distinctive feature and press SHOW MATCHES again. The second is to select Best Characters on the MatchMaker menu. This gives a list of characters ranked according to the percentage of the remaining species for which that feature holds. (This is an indication of how useful the listed characters are in cutting down the number of choices.) Click on a distinctive feature of your mushroom that is shown by a small percentage of the remaining species, and the species that do not fit that feature will be eliminated.

The maximum and minimum boxes are used to indicate the smallest and largest measurement in your sample. The minimum should be for a mature specimen, as even large species of mushrooms start small. This will compare your sample size to the range given in the computer description. If you have only one mature specimen, enter that measurement in both the minimum and maximum boxes. (This will actually happen automatically if you fill in only one of the pair of boxes.)

You can use the text boxes at the bottom of the entry form to narrow the search to a particular family or genus. You can also use the search text box at the bottom of the entry form to find only species that have a certain word or combination of words in the description. If you type sclerotium, all the species with that word in the description will be matched. If you type gills = blue, species that have the word "blue" in the GILLS section will be matched. See Searching the Descriptions for further details.

The Link Or button is used when you are unsure which of two characters the description may contain. For instance you could press this button then Olive Brown and Green/Olive. Any species will be matched that contains either character in the description.

The Link And button is used when you want to make sure that both of two characters are in the description. For instance you could press this button then Red and Yellow. Species will be matched only if they contain both characters in the description.

Available as an option, the Negative button can be used to match all the species which do not contain that character in their descriptions. Click on this button, then on the checkbox. The highlighting will be white.

The Negative button must be used carefully because the data used for matching is designed to be inclusive rather than exact. For instance, if the thickness is unknown for the cap flesh, both thick and thin are generally checked, so that they will not interfere with the match if you choose thick or thin. If negative thin is chosen, however, the species will not match at 100%. This is why it is given only as an option.

The Negative button cannot be used be used with Link Or or Link And buttons on the same characters: clicking this button on a linked character will turn off the link.

Also available as an option, the Required button is relevant to situations where species do not match at 100%. If you are absolutely sure that a certain character will be included in the description, click on this button, then on the checkbox. The highlighting will be light blue. The program will then avoid showing you species that lack this character when matching at less than 100%.

The Required button is quite likely to lead the beginning user into missing matches because the description may be missing a character that seems obvious to the user. This is why it is given only as an option.

Although not necessary to the beginner, you may use the % Match desired box if you are not sure of a characteristic, or if a definite characteristic may not be included in the description. This reduces the percentage of your entries that must match the computer description before the species will be shown. Type in a percentage number after you click on the box. Generally you should use a high percentage if you are entering a few very distinctive features and a lower one if you are entering a lot of features.

The List menu allows you to list the species by the species rather than the genus name, to find species that you know by an alternate name, to list English names, to list similar species, to look at a tree-diagram of families and genera, or to look up an unfamiliar word in a Glossary.

The Advanced menu allows you to view species characters. Select the species from the list, then select this option.

The Options menu allows you to choose the size of the illustrations and certain specialized options in matching.

The Help menu allows you to access this help file and show matching instructions.