If you have any questions about iRecord or biological recording, please feel free to ask questions on here. Simply click the + New Topic button and ask away.
Thanks @charlesroper . For the benefit of all of the students, Charles is our Digital whizz working on the FSC BioLinks project.
That’s me - hello!
I have been in training mode on iRecord since I first joined 2 years ago. How do I progress?
I entered several records last summer none of which have been verified. I understand there is a big backlog. What value to iRecord are unverified records?
Hi @Penk - training mode is a setting you can turn on and off. Any records you enter while in training mode are “pretend” records, meaning you can try things out without the records being public or getting verified and being passed on. Practice mode in other words. This is possibly why your records haven’t been verified
You can read more about it here, including how to turn it off: https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/training-mode
Unverified records are still very valuable, so don’t worry if you enter records and they don’t get verified. It’s far better to have unverified records in the system than not at all. They can still be downloaded by schemes and societies, and by local environmental record centres. They can also be seen by other users of iRecord, or if they are added as part of an activity, can be downloaded by administrators of the activity. Last but not least, they are still your records, and simply having your records in digital form, able to be plotted on a map, searched, filtered and kept safe (if only by you) is satisfying in itself.
Hope that helps.
I will also add to that: unverified records can answer all sorts of questions regardless of whether they are “correct” or not.
Take @k.brown as national coordinator for the Earthworm Society. He might want to know where most records are coming from. Where are the recording hotspots? What time of year are most records coming in? What geographical patterns are there in submissions? There are all sorts of questions that can help inform funding applications, communications, or volunteering efforts. It doesn’t matter that the records are unverified - they’re still useful in all sorts of ways, including ways we might not already know about.
Hi @Penk, as @charlesroper has pointed out the records that you entered while in training mode are not considered by the system to be real. Effectively Training Mode allows you to play around with the iRecord system without actually submitting any real records. Therefore the records that you have entered in this mode will not have gone to the verifiers and they never will. I’d recommend turning off training mode and re-entering the records.
Chapter 2 of the user guide we shared covers how to turn training mode off and on: https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/sites/default/files/guides/irecord-training_2019-v3.0-IMPORTS.pdf
If you still haven’t managed to turn it off before the live session let me know and I’ll demo this during the session.
With reagrds to unverified records, it’s worth noting that they are only unverified at that point in time. If a species group currently has nobody verifying records, then they will remain unverified. However, if somebody takes on the verification of this group in the future they will likely begin working through the backlog of unverified records for the species group. For example, until about a year ago nobody was verifying terrestrial molluscs so slugs and snail records were unverified. Now the Conch Soc are working through these and those ‘historic’ records are getting verified. It will take time but eventually they will catch up.
Just to add to the excellent points from Charles and Keiron, about 50 new verifiers have been set up on iRecord in the last four or five weeks, and the amount of verification is increasing over time, with more species groups and counties being picked up. Thanks to all the expert volunteers who make this possible. There’s some more background on the verification process in the iRecord Help pages, under Verification: what, who and why
Thanks for that Martin - great to see you here!
Just realised that I’ve been using iRecord without knowing it for a number of years as my plant monitoring records are on there from Plantlife.
Why do I have different records on the app on my phone compared to my pc. Is there any way of getting them all together on one.
Hi @Gentian, let me check if I understand your question: you’ve logged-in to iRecord and you can see records your have submitted to the Plantlife activity using the iRecord app on your mobile device - is that correct? And what you’re asking is, can you somehow see the records you have entered into the iRecord website in the iRecord app. Have I got that right? Let me know if not.
As far as I understand it, the iRecord app for phones and tablets is designed primarily to enter and submit records. It doesn’t grab data from the website and bring them to your phone. It’s one-way.
So, using the app, you will be able to see records you send to the website on both your phone and website, but for records you enter only on the website, you will not be able to see those on your phone.
As a verifier, my observations may be of interest to folk reading this thread.
My “expertise” is in a small specialised group. Just 6,000 or so records on NBN Atlas over 20 years. There are plenty of UK recording schemes of that scale though, flies, beetles, bugs etc.
There are three places I do verifications for my scheme, an identification site which infuriatingly does not record (Diptera.info), iRecord very occasionally and iNaturalist daily (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/european-micropezids-tanypezids)
By far the easiest to use is iNaturalist, it’s only pictures-based but the presentation is superb and uploading is very simple. Especially if you are in the habit of geotagging as, unlike iRecord, it reads Lat/Long from the image metadata (iSpot reads geotags too). For a UK recording scheme it’s important to have one of these projects in order to check which recording method UK users are in the habit of using. As you verify a record there you can ask them to kindly use iRecord too, though I’ve seen little sign of that.
The iRecord verification task doesn’t appeal much. There are the same problems of images which cannot convey the necessary features. Records without images are down to trust, knowing the people submitting the records and with no clue whatsoever about which identification keys they are using. Regardless of any effort you have made to produce hard-copy and Identikit keys as I have, some are still using 1940s keys and taxa.
Worst of all for recording are the identification-only sites. My example of Diptera.info covers mainly Europe where the culture of recording is variable (clue https://www.gbif.org/the-gbif-network/europe) though improving in some countries such as Russia (do maps reflect camera-ownership?). The identifications are usually fast though as they are brought to the attention of a very wide range of experts.
The impression I have is that recorders will post their image only once in order to get an identification. It’s rare that they can be persuaded to post again with coordinates.
Suggestions for iRecord would be to provide an interface that’s as user-friendly as an iNaturalist project (which effectively gives small Recording Schemes a home page), add an image metadata reader to save form-filling (as seen in iSpot & Flickr) and expand coverage beyond UK
A couple of points about iNaturalist:
- It has a team of 11 people working on it permanently, including several software engineers and, crucially, designers. It takes a lot of time, resource and experience to make a website as slick and easy-to-use as iNaturalist. This is not a large team for a project of this scale - quite normal. Sufficiently resourced I’d say in terms of design, development, and management support. iRecord has far fewer full-time people working on it and no designers, which explains the discrepancy in UI and ease of use.
- iNaturalist only deals with lat/long and not OSGB. It does have the capability to resize the area you are specifying for your record, but it means the OS grid reference needs to be inferred (would be possible using an algorithm, but is somewhat problematic). As you know, grid references are an important element of UK biological recording - so a system that works natively with grid references is the ideal here.
- The global species lists can be confusing and includes a lot of species that we don’t have in Britain.
But all that is to say, iNaturalist is not a bad thing at all and I really like it a lot. It’s got many, many really neat and useful features I’d love to see in iRecord, and the UX and UI is miles ahead. But iRecord is still the better product for serious biological recording in the UK.