Achieving more for nature

Getting involved

Everyone can do their bit for nature - find out how to do yours! Whether it is spotting your garden wildlife, or changing the management of your company’s landholding

Online recording

Advances in technology now mean that biological recording can be accessed from anywhere.. by anyone!

In recent years a number of web applications have been developed to help people record wildlife sightings online. The main aim of these systems is to speed up data entry and validating data (for example checking that dates are not in the future, or that the grid reference looks right). This enables the sightings to be sent for verification (checking the identification) and made available for conservation, research and other uses much sooner.

Before the advent of computers, biological records were usually noted down on special recording cards or in notebooks. Each record then had to be checked and verified. New technology allowed some of these checks to be done automatically - but also allowed much greater volumes of data to be collected. Unfortunately, this usually resulted in the verification stage being swamped with information!

The internet now allows quick transfer of data - large volumes of data generated can be sent 'piece-meal' as and when they happen, and the verification stage can be spread out over time rather than being condensed into a few months. The internet also has the power to reach many people who wouldn't ordinarily take part in biological recording through social media and news stories.

This 'citizen science' approach, which can increase the number of people who record wildlife, isn't just of value for biological recording itself. It also means that more people are engaged with the natural world and can experience it first hand.

In Greater Lincolnshire a number of online recording tools are used to collect wildlife sightings. Living Record is used to collect sightings of dragonflies and damselflies and has amassed over 1,500 records since it was first put into use.

A number of national schemes and societies are also using online recording to gather records, such as the Mammal Society who are currently collating records for a new atlas.

Nationally, there is also iRecord developed by the Biological Records Centre which allows you to record wildlife sightings across the country. Data from iRecord is made available to Local Record Centres and national schemes and societies.