Merge Individuals - have the ability to specify which individual record gets merged into which other individual

What Wildbook should this feature be in? ACW

What would you like to see?

The researcher will need the ability to decide which Marked Individual is the one that gets merged into. Some reasons would be: they may have an ID system that means Individual A isn’t the one they want to keep; they may have ID’s that relate to the social group the animal belongs to that requires the Individual specified be within that group’s set of numbers; they may just want to keep the oldest ID in a sequence, etc.

The researcher may even want to specify a completely different individual for both ID’s to be merged into. The Wildbook technology is helping researchers find duplicates and triplicates in their existing catalogues. As they clean these up, the ID they want to be the last one standing of potentially 3 different ID’s, could be one that doesn’t appear in this Data Integrity info since it deals specifically with image duplication between Individuals.

I know they can change the ID “names” after the fact but it’s a step they wouldn’t need to take if they could just select who gets merged into who.

An interesting example of the complexity of a system-generated arbitrary selection of which individual gets merged into which is illustrated by these 2 examples from our list:

Here, Individual 120 would be merged into Individual 5:
And here, Individual 5 would get merged into Individual 91:

In fact, the older record, Individual 5, which also has the highest # of encounters associated with it, would be the researcher’s choice in both instances.

How would this functionality help you?
Allow the researcher to keep their IDs consistent as they need for their catalogue and specific requirements. Save extra steps to address any incorrect ID’s after a merge.

I have previously stated that this is an intended feature, on the announcement of what is released presently. You can find the comment here:

I also discuss how to leverage the organic search to expand and find selections deliberately using the organic merge find. So, in your example, your researcher could look at the match results on individual 5 and increase the viewable individuals until 120 and 91 were selectable.
And, while I acknowledge it isn’t ideal, it is a functional workaround.

I will prioritize getting this more officially documented so you can provide it as reference to those who need to make use of this more immediately.