read.ids {dplR}R Documentation

Read Site-Tree-Core IDs


These functions try to read site, tree, and core IDs from a rwl data.frame.


read.ids(rwl, stc = c(3, 2, 3), = FALSE, = FALSE, fix.typos = FALSE, typo.ratio = 5,
         use.cor = TRUE)

autoread.ids(rwl, = TRUE, = "auto",
             fix.typos = TRUE, typo.ratio = 5, use.cor = TRUE)



a data.frame with series as columns and years as rows such as that produced by read.rwl or ca533


a vector of three integral values or character string "auto". The numbers indicate the number of characters to split the site code (stc[1]), the tree IDs (stc[2]), and the core IDs (stc[3]). Defaults to c(3, 2, 3). If "auto", tries to automatically determine the split locations. See Details for further information.


a logical flag. If TRUE and stc is "auto", correlation clustering may be used for determining the length of the tree and core parts. See Details.

The following parameters affect the handling of suspected typing errors. Some have different default values in read.ids and autoread.ids.

a logical flag. If TRUE, the function does not distinguish between upper case and lower case letters in the site part of the series names.

a logical flag or "auto". If TRUE, the function does not distinguish between upper case and lower case letters in the tree / core part of the series names. The default in read.ids is FALSE, i.e. the difference matters. The default in read.ids is "auto", which means that the function tries to be smart with respect to case sensitivity. In "auto" mode, the function generally ignores case differences, unless doing so would result in additional duplicate combinations of tree and core IDs. Also, when in "auto" mode and stc is "auto", case sensitivity is used in highly heuristic ways when deciding the boundary between the site part and the tree part in uncertain cases.


a logical flag. If TRUE, the function will try to detect and fix typing errors.


a numeric value larger than 1, affecting the eagerness of the function to fix typing errors. The default is 5. See Details.


Because dendrochronologists often take more than one core per tree, it is occasionally useful to calculate within vs. between tree variance. The International Tree Ring Data Bank (ITRDB) allows the first eight characters in an rwl file for series IDs but these are often shorter. Typically the creators of rwl files use a logical labeling method that can allow the user to determine the tree and core ID from the label.

Argument stc tells how each series separate into site, tree, and core IDs. For instance a series code might be "ABC011" indicating site "ABC", tree 1, core 1. If this format is consistent then the stc mask would be c(3, 2, 3) allowing up to three characters for the core ID (i.e., pad to the right). If it is not possible to define the scheme (and often it is not possible to machine read IDs), then the output data.frame can be built manually. See Value for format.

The function autoread.ids is a wrapper to read.ids with stc="auto", i.e. automatic detection of the site / tree / core scheme, and different default values of some parameters. In automatic mode, the names in the same rwl can even follow different site / tree / core schemes. As there are numerous possible encoding schemes for naming measurement series, the function cannot always produce the correct result.

With stc="auto", the site part can be one of the following.

These descriptions are somewhat general, and the details can be found in regular expressions inside the function. If a name does not match any of the descriptions, it is matched against a previously found site part, starting from the longest.

The following ID schemes are detected and supported in the tree / core part. The detection is done per site.

If the split of a tree / core part cannot be found with any of the methods described above, the prefix of the string is matched against a previously found tree part, starting from the longest. The fallback mechanism for the still undecided tree / core parts is one of the following. The first one is used if use.cor is TRUE, number two if it is FALSE.

  1. Pairwise correlation coefficients are computed between all remaining series. Pairs of series with above median correlation are flagged as similar, and the other pairs are flagged as dissimilar. Each possible number of characters (minimum 1) is considered for the share of the tree ID. The corresponding unique would-be tree IDs determine a set of clusterings where one cluster is formed by all the measurement series of a single tree. For each clustering (allocation of characters), an agreement score is computed. The agreement score is defined as the sum of the number of similar pairs with matching cluster number and the number of dissimilar pairs with non-matching cluster number. The number of characters with the maximum agreement is chosen.

  2. If the majority of the names in the site use k characters for the tree part, that number is chosen. Otherwise, one core per tree is assumed. Parameter typo.ratio has a double meaning as it also defines what is meant by majority here: at least typo.ratio / (typo.ratio + 1) * n.tot, where n.tot is the number of names in the site.

In both fallback mechanisms, the number of characters allocated for the tree part will be increased until all trees have a non-zero ID or there are no more characters.

Suspected typing errors will be fixed by the function if fix.typos is TRUE. The parameter typo.ratio affects the eagerness to fix typos, i.e. the number of counterexamples required to declare a typo. The following main typo fixing mechanisms are implemented:

Site IDs.

If a rare site string resembles an at least typo.ratio times more frequent alternative, and if fixing it would not create any name collisions, make the fix. The alternative string must be unique, or if there is more than one alternative, it is enough if only one of them is a look-alike string. Any kind of substitution in one character place is allowed if the alternative string has the same length as the original string. The alternative string can be one character longer or one character shorter than the original string, but only if it involves interpreting one digit as the look-alike alphabet or vice versa. There are requirements to how long a site string must be in order to be eligible for replacement / typo fixing, i.e. cannot be shortened to zero length, cannot change the only character of a site string. The parameters and have some effect on this typo fixing mechanism.

Tree and core IDs.

If all tree / core parts of a site have the same length, each character position is inspected individually. If the characters in the i:th position are predominantly digits (alphabets), any alphabets (digits) are changed to the corresponding look-alike digit (alphabet) if there is one. The look-alike groups are {0, O, o}, {1, I, i}, {5, S, s} and {6, G}. The parameter typo.ratio determines the decision threshold of interpreting the type of each character position as alphabet (digit): the ratio of alphabets (digits) to the total number of characters must be at least typo.ratio / (typo.ratio + 1). If a name differs from the majority type in more than one character position, it is not fixed. Also, no fixes are performed if any of them would cause a possible monotonic order of numeric prefixes to break.

The function attempts to convert the tree and core substrings to integral values. When this succeeds, the converted values are copied to the output without modification. When non-integral substrings are observed, each unique tree is assigned a unique integral value. The same applies to cores within a tree, but there are some subtleties with respect to the handling of duplicates. Substrings are sorted before assigning the numeric IDs.

The order of columns in rwl, in most cases, does not affect the tree and core IDs assigned to each series.


A data.frame with column one named "tree" giving an ID for each tree and column two named "core" giving an ID for each core. The original series IDs are copied from rwl as rownames. The order of the rows in the output matches the order of the series in rwl. If more than one site is detected, an additional third column named "site" will contain a site ID. All columns have integral valued numeric values.


Andy Bunn (original version) and Mikko Korpela (patches, stc="auto", fix.typos, etc.).

See Also

rwi.stats, read.rwl


read.ids(ca533, stc = c(3, 2, 3))

[Package dplR version 1.7.6 Index]