John Partridge

From the Worcestershire Biological Records Centre

In our advice to recorders so far, we have said that we need the standard four items of what, when, where and who: Species, Date, Location Name & Grid Reference, Recorder - and we shall continue to be happy with these.

However, some recorders have been sending additional information, which we have been incorporating into records where possible, and it is becoming apparent that some of the national recording schemes are now asking for more. Our database program, Recorder, is capable of storing far more than the basic four items, should you wish it, and the later upgrades have meant that many of the extra items can be imported from Excel spreadsheets.

Currently we can import:

Species - Name, either the Scientific Name or the Common Name 
Date - which can be a day (12/03/2011), month (August 2011) , or just a year (2011), or a date range (12/03/2011- 18/03/2011), or even a year range (1990-2011) although such records have limited use.
Grid Reference - If at all possible use at least a 'real' 6-figure grid reference (or 8 or 10-figure if desirable), rather than a central reference for the site 
Type of GR - Indicate whether Estimated from Map, GPS, Site Centroid, Original Recorder 
Location and Location Name. These can be used in two ways:
Chamberline Withybed Wood
7973 Nr. Stourport
     Chamberline is one of our 'standard' compartments in Wyre Forest, and Withybed Wood a sub-compartment .
    7973 is a simplified grid reference - which WBRC usually adds, Nr. Stourport would /be your description of the location
Recorder - who found it
Determiner - who did the identification
Comment - almost anything you feel could be useful
Sex/Stage & Abundance- male, female, nymph, adult, dead, juvenile, larva etc
        You can enter such numbers as 3 adult, or 2m,3f or adult, pupa, larva - which will record as one of each
Record Type- photographed, shot, sorted from a tussock, voucher specimen etc.
Provenance - Alien, Native, Naturalised, Vagrant
Surveyor's Number - perhaps the number of a voucher specimen
Vice-county Number

An expanded Excel sheet can be found here

And it is relatively easy to add a batch number, a statement of how the records were collected (Field Record, Collected,  Malaise Trap, Light Trap and others), conditions at the time (Weather, Temperature, Wind Speed or Sunshine and others) to a batch of records collected at the same time.

If you feel that your records ought to contain more information, then please include it, and we will try to get it in. Discussing it with us first might help, or even better, of course, is to learn to use Recorder and get it exactly how you would like it - or at least rather closer.