Please note: The new tool DiversityNaviKey is now available. DNK-Logo


DiversityNaviKey (DNK) is designed to replace NaviKey. DNK is set up for interactive identification of organisms following defined descriptors. It is suitable for the diagnosis of physical objects and any kind of digital object that is part of or related to biodiversity, geodiversity or environmental research (see About).

Current versions of the PWA give access to six data sources, among them LIAS light and LIAS metabolites (see here).

Start using the tool by opening in a browser on any user device (desktop, tablet, smartphone). Select the appropriate data source (LIAS light, LIAS metabolites) and proceed as recommended.

NaviKey Home

NaviKey Icon

NaviKey – a Java applet and application for accessing descriptive data coded in DELTA format

The embedded NaviKey applet is actually working only with Mozilla Firefox versions up to 51.0.1. and Mozilla Firefox ESR (32-bit) versions up to 52.9.0esr. Other language versions might be accessed below the platform of the respective program version, e.g.,
Be aware that use of legacy versions of browsers is recommended only for visiting reliable websites.

NaviKey in Service

Introduction   back to top

NaviKey is a tool for querying descriptive data and has been implemented as

NaviKey in Service   back to top

For trying out NaviKey in service, visit the list of Web Projects. NaviKey is reviewed by EDIT Biodiversity Service & Application Tracker.

Version History   back to top

The delevopment of NaviKey was initiated by Michael Bartley and Noel Cross (Harvard University Herbarium, Boston, USA) and continued until 1999 (version 2.3). In the frame of BIOTA Africa its further development was taken over by Dieter Neubacher and Gerhard Rambold (University of Bayreuth, Germany). From 2007 on, additional support has been provided by the Staatliche Naturwissenschaftliche Sammlungen Bayerns, IT Center.

Release Features
Versions 3.00–3.xx
(internal versioning, viz. no releases)
  • NaviKey to be alternatively used as local application (installation of JRE required).
  • Update of GUI to Swing.
  • Configuration options for selecting background and font colours (preliminarily) removed.
Versions 4.00–4.03
(internal versioning, viz. no releases)
  • Implementation of various checkbox matching options (view restriction; exclude items; multiple selection of character states; interval validations).
  • Alphabethical sorting of resulting items/taxa.
Version 4.04
  • Support of DELTA flat files in Unicode format.
  • Option to run NaviKey in parallel (with different DELTA data sets and the corresponding configuration files).
  • Counter for total and resulting taxon/item numbers.
Version 4.05
  • Improvements in option to run NaviKey in parallel.
  • Improvement of query options.
Version 4.06
  • Internal changes.
Version 4.07
  • Display of units for numerical states.
Version 4.08
  • Implementation of "Character dependency" option.
  • Parameter selection and About text in separate tab sheets.
  • Labelling of the panes.
Version 4.09
  • Init options bugfix.
Version 4.10
  • Internal changes.
Version 5.00
  • Implementation of option for taxon images and information.
  • NaviKey configuration file in XML (NaviKeyConfig.xml).
  • Implementation of "Implicit values" directive.
Version 5.01
  • Bugfixes.
Version 5.04
  • Multi-linguality and right-to-left (RTL) language support.

TODO List   back to top

Download   back to top

Release .zip .tar.gz Sources Date
NaviKey v. 2.30 download download +  1999
NaviKey v. 4.04 download     February 1, 2006
NaviKey v. 4.05 download download + March 30, 2006
NaviKey v. 4.06 download download + May 30, 2006
NaviKey v. 4.07 download download + July 26, 2006
NaviKey v. 4.08 download download + October 16, 2006
NaviKey v. 4.09 download download + March 1, 2007
NaviKey v. 4.10 download download + June 12, 2007
NaviKey v. 5.00 download download + May 15, 2008
NaviKey v. 5.01 download download + June 25, 2008
NaviKey v. 5.04 download download + October 10, 2011

Download latest signed version of NaviKey.jar   back to top

Release NaviKey.jar Sources Date
NaviKey v. 5.06 download -  July 17, 2019

Installation   back to top

NaviKey can be used both remotely (as an applet on a web server) and locally (as an application).

As an applet, NaviKey jar-file needs to be placed on a web server in a folder within the wwwroot directory together with all other files in the root directory when the zipfile is unzipped (e. g., a property or configuration file (NaviKey.props or NaviKeyConfig.xml) and DELTA flat files (CHARS, ITEMS, SPECS)). For placing the DELTA data files in a subordinal folder (e. g., "delta/", the path is to be specified in the property or configuration file (e. g.: charsfile=delta/chars). One of the NaviKey icons in the zip archive may be used with a back link to this NaviKey home site.

For local usage of NaviKey as a stand-alone application under Windows 2000/XP, the NaviKey jar-file needs to be placed in a folder together with a property or configuration file (NaviKey.props or NaviKeyConfig.xml) and DELTA flat files (CHARS, ITEMS, SPECS), an example of which is included in To run NaviKey, the most recent version of Java™ Runtime Environment needs to be downloaded and installed first. Mac OS X users may load Java for Mac OS X.

Licence Conditions   back to top

NaviKey is considered Open Source. The source code is available since v. 2.3 and included in the archive files. For announcing or requesting cooperation in the project, please contact

Suggested Citation   back to top

Neubacher, D., Rambold, G. 2005 onwards. NaviKey – a Java applet and application for accessing descriptive data coded in DELTA format:

Credits   back to top

Starting with version 2.3, NaviKey has been programmed in the frame of the BIOTA Southern Africa Subproject S04, financed by the BMBF (Federal Ministery of Education and Research, Germany). Valuable comments and suggestions by Mike Dallwitz (Canberra) are gratefully acknowledged.

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