In last month’s eNews we heard from John Bratton who provided a user’s perspective of iRecord. This month we bring you news of several improvements to iRecord which have been introduced in response to suggestions made by users.
To make the data entry process more efficient, the following changes have been made to the iRecord forms:
• The certainty field now defaults to ‘certain’.
• It is now possible to ‘lock’ any of the data entry fields in the form for entering a single record. This is useful if you are entering multiple records of the same species, or entering records at various different grid references within the same site.
• The interactive map is now easier to use, with help on selecting an accurate grid reference and automatic switching to satellite view as you zoom in. Users can still switch between street map and satellite base layers and turn the grid overlay on or off by clicking on the + symbol in the top right corner of the map.
To give iRecord users more flexibility and to improve the usefulness of the data, the following improvements have been made:
• There are now separate fields for recorder and identifier. The recorder field defaults to the name of the person entering the data, but this can be changed if the records are being entered by someone who has been sent specimens or photographs for identification. Both fields can be locked.
• It is now possible to associate a species record with the habitat where the species was recorded. The new habitat hierarchy field uses the EUNIS (European Nature Information System) habitat classification system. Currently, only terrestrial habitats are available in iRecord, but there are plans to add the EUNIS marine and freshwater habitats in future.
A new Download Data page has been added to the iRecord site to enable users to download their own records or records to which they have been given access as an expert for verification purposes. Data can be downloaded in either Excel format or the NBN Exchange format.
iRecord now has 526 registered users and provides access to over 40,000 records, of which almost 24,000 include photographs. Most of these records were captured through associated websites or smartphone apps that use iRecord for reporting and/or verification, although over 8,000 records have been entered directly into iRecord. Verified records from iRecord are now being exported to the NBN Gateway. The RISC (Recording Invasive Species Counts) datasets have already been made fully publicly available through this route, and it is hoped that the PlantTracker, Orthoptera and Ladybird datasets will also be included in the next Gateway update, with other taxon groups to follow.
We are grateful to John Bratton, Martin Harvey, Keith Balmer and everyone else who has made suggestions for improvements to iRecord. If you have any further suggestions please visit the forum and add your ideas.
The goal of iRecord is to make it easier for wildlife sightings to be collated, checked by experts and made available to support research and decision-making at local and national levels. If you would like to access and verify records for a particular taxonomic group or geographic area, please contact us on iRecord@ceh.ac.uk .