Records sitting unverified for a very long time

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Records sitting unverified for a very long time

I hope I am recognised as a supporter of iRECORD, nearly the best thing since sliced bread. So it does grieve me to hear, and not only once, “I submitted data to iRECORD ages ago and nothing was done with it.”  In March 2013, nearly 4 years ago, I submitted, to try the system out, data with good photos of the Snow Flea Boreus – an insect that hundreds of UK entomologists could name and by contrast data and photos of the moderately difficult to id plant Cylcamen coum.  Nothing has happened to these records.

I have seen suggestions, but not on this Forum that people who see their data just sitting, proactively remove them and send them elsewhere. Sorry not good enough.

This is a reputation thing.  I feel iRECORD needs to do one of several things.  Verify them, or tell me when I might expect them to be done , or tell me there is no reasonable expectation they will be done - like no verifier in “post” and a suggestion where I might send them.

It is obvious from my verification work for iRECORD that I am not going to walk away due to this problem but I know those who have.

iRecord support
iRecord and verifications

There are a number of reasons why records may not receive prompt verification on iRecord, including:

  • there may not (yet) be a recording scheme scheme that covers the species group in question
  • there is a scheme but it's not active on iRecord
  • there is a scheme and it is active but it is only able to verify data in batches once or twice a year

Even where there isn't an active scheme, there are still good reasons for adding records to iRecord: once added they are safely stored by the Biological Records Centre and will be available to a recording scheme in future, and all records added directly to iRecord are immediately available to local environmental records centres even if unverified (with suitable caveats). 

Also, iRecord does provide a free biological recording package, with standard species lists, map interface for grid references etc., from which you can download your own records as spreadsheets, so it is a useful resource for recorders even without the added benefits of verification. Downloaded spreadsheets can be passed on to recording schemes who aren't active on iRecord.

We understand the disappointment that people feel when their records don't get verified on iRecord. Verification is carried out by volunteer experts. We are enormously grateful to the people that do this, and we hope that it assists the flow of new records for recording schemes and projects. The number of verifiers on iRecord is increasing, but we recognise that not all recording schemes have the time or inclination to get involved.

We have been asked before if it is possible to give people more information about which schemes are active and which aren't, and one of the reasons we haven't done this is because we don't want to pressurise volunteers who may be active but not always be able to respond promptly, nor those schemes who have chosen not to engage with iRecord - voluntary schemes (many of which are run by a single individual) have many demands on their time and we can't insist that they get involved with iRecord. It's also true that some of the schemes that use networks of county recorders are active in some counties and not others, so the overall picture of which records are likely to be verified is quite complex.

But we'd be interested to hear people's views on this, including from people who are verifiers: would you like to see a list of which recording schemes are active? Is there a danger that this will be seen as criticising those who aren't yet involved, or are we being over-sensitive about this?




Listing success

Many thanks for the reply.  I agree you can view other people's success as an enouraging goal, or a depressing reminder of your inadequacies.

I just wonder if iRECORD is being generally too modest. There is a small font one liner at the start about how many records hve been acumuiated but I wonder if there is a place for a tool bar entry "Statistics" .  One of the things there would be the verification stats for different broad taxonomic groups. Perhaps if you just list the positives it is not seen as a criticism, so no things like "Order x 2,000 received 0 verified".  I am pleased to be part of the iRECORD community and can mention to impressionable friends how many records I have verified but I cannot so easily promote the succes of the system.

The value of the storage of records is well explained in this post but is it so easily seen on the site. I had not realised that all records are available to LERCS, including unverified - I should have, no doubt. Very good as it means that records are not just sitting there.

I apologise if this exasperates due to my inability to use the site properly. 

iRecord support
Reporting on progress

Thanks for that Ian, and you're not being at all exasperating, if there are aspects of iRecord that aren't clear to you we need to know so we can consider what can be done to make things clearer. I agree that we could do more to let people know about what happens to the records, and we'll have a think about how best we can do that.


John H Bratton
I was at a natural history

I was at a natural history meeting in England a few months ago.  I happened to mention I had put some records on iRecord and I was taken aback by the invective that produced. The main complaint was that iRecord won't allow the county recorders to have the records for their county. Aren't county recorders just the people iRecord needs to co-operate with in order to speed up and expand verification? I was urged to send my records to the LRC and not bother with iRecord. But to be fair, when I have previously sent records to the LRC, I have not had any response so I don't know whether the LRC has accepted them either.

John Bratton

Matt Smith
Surely if one is setup on

Surely if one is setup on iRecord as a Verifier or "County Recorder", as I am for VC22 Amphibian and Reptile records, then one should be able download all the verified records for that county.  I certainly can, they get downloaded and added to the County ARG database.  I promote iRecord as the best way of getting records to me.

I think part of the problem is that quite a few people do not understand how iRecord operates and how it fits with LRCs.  A second problem is that even if people do use iRecord, they may still complain because it does not work in the exact same manner they are used to working elsewhere or they may say "it cannot do A, B or C" when if they took a little bit of time to explore they sysyem, they would find it will happily do A, B and C, and even more.

BRC, the NBN and the country SNCOs need to be promoting the use of iRecord (not funding the "development" of other on-line recording systems as some do) and visiting or revisiting those NSS, LRCs and other organisations that do not want to engage with iRecord and find out why, and look to provide solutions and training to get people on board.  iRecord is not perfect, things like "tiered verification levels" (which have been suggested to BRC, would be very useful additions, but things like these take time and resources to produce.


John H Bratton
Regarding what you say above

Regarding what you say above about it doing A, B, C and more: does this apply to either of my suggestions here, please?




iRecord support
County links

Just to clarify the situation with regard to Local Environmental Records Centres, all LERCs can, if they wish, download data for their area from iRecord. All they need to do is to contact us to let us know which iRecord user account they are using, and we can set the permissions needed.

County recorders are very welcome to take part in iRecord as well, and can be given verification roles, preferably in agreement with the relevant national recording scheme (if applicable). As verifiers they are then able to download the records for their area of interest. We have occasionally been approached by county and other recording scheme organisers who wish to be given the ability to download records but don't wish to engage with verification, and that is a harder issue to know how to respond to, as it bypasses one of the reasons that iRecord was developed. If records are downloaded and verified outside of iRecord then A) the original recorder doesn't find out that their records have been checked, and B) the records remain as unverified on iRecord, and another verifier might then work on them, unaware that the effort is being duplicated.

Such questions around data flow and data sharing are always difficult to resolve to everyone's satisfaction.

Major Bombylius
I am aware of several people

I am aware of several people who run national recording schemes (and are presumably happy to receive records and assist in identification) who do not participate in irecord verification. There may be various reasons for this. I wonder if irecord try to actively contact such people to try to recruit them and if not, why not. A friend of mine runs the UK Collembola recording scheme. But he has never it seems heard of irecord and when I mentioned it thought I was talking about ispot (which is of course quite different).

Unverified records

I know this is an old post, but I wanted to reply that I, as a new user, have found it quite frustrating that a number of my sightings have not come back at all. If certain creatures have nobody at the other end, could we not be told to save us wasting our time posting them??? When I first used it, I actually presumed I was doing something wrong as I'd get responses on my slugs, snails & 1 hoverflies but nothing on moths etc...


I'm not sure how long you've been using the website but sometimes it takes a while for verifiers to get through large numbers of sightings, particularly during peak months. Also research centres may collect and analyse data retrospectively. For example I've just received a verification on a wasp I added in July and a bug from last year. Having said that, I haven't had a verification on any damselflies, dragonflies, moths or butterflies for around four years even though many were in response to NGO campaigns and I would have thought that the data would have been valuable, but I continue to add records as the data may be important at some point in the future. I enjoy having somewhere to record my sightings and to look at the data/distribution of species, both in my local area and county/country-wide. It's a great resource which is free to use so, personally, I look at it as a give-and-take situation. One thing I've noticed is that I've had more verifications/corrections for sightings on which I've selected 'certain' or likely' so perhaps verifiers prioritise these.  

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