Biological Recording Week: Day 4 - Record Flow and Data Quality

Brown Hare - Ryan Clark

During this week, Ryan will be introducing us to the topic of biological recording. Day 4 looks at data flow and quality of biological records.

Hi everyone,

Todays blog post will look at types of people that could use your records and how records are shared with others. A record really is generated once and used for countless things.

Who Should I Submit My Records To?

There are many ways that a single biological record can be used as part of a larger dataset. This means that there is a variety of people who would like access to the records. Two of the main ones are Local Records Centres and national recording schemes.

Local Records Centres

Across the three counties there is a Local Records Centre for each county, these are hosted by the Wildlife Trust. Their role is to collect together environmental information and make it accessible to those that need to use it. They have a local focus and provide data to ensure that ecology and the environment is taken into account in the planning process.

National Recording Schemes

National recording schemes pull together the records on a particular group of species, they are often the national experts in that group and use the data to look at how the species are faring over a wider geographical area.

Group Recording Wildlife

How is Data Shared?

Who to send records to and how these records are shared is one of the most confusing aspects of biological recording, and there is straight forward answer. Local Records Centres hold local knowledge whereas national schemes hold species expertise. Researchers need to be able to pull all of these records together to be able to analyse them. So ideally you want everyone to be able to access your records but sending it to multiple people is time consuming and would cause record duplication. Yesterday I introduced iRecord which I believe is the best current solution to this problem, as you put your records on there and they are available to both national recording schemes and local records centres. Although many currently don’t access iRecord data.

View our blog post on iRecord

Data Quality – Validation and Verification

To ensure that the data is of high a quality as possible, each record goes through a two step process of validation and verification.

Validation

This is checking that the record is complete. The record is checked to ensure that all of the ‘four Ws’ are there as a minimum and are in the correct format. The record is checked to ensure that the location information and grid reference match one another. Checking your records for typos and errors helps speed this process up. This quality checking stage of the process doesn’t need expert species knowledge, but it needs an eye for detail and is usually done by Local Environmental Records Centres.

Verification

This stage is checking that the record is likely to be correct. Therefore, this stage is performed by local or national experts who take into account the evidence submitted in the record to confirm whether the species recorded is likely to have been correctly identified.

Only once both of these stages are complete can the record be used.

 

Thanks for reading today's blog post which looked at data flow and data quality. Tomorrow's blog post will look at the many ways in which biological records are used.

Hare's foot clover