Entering your records

Which recording form should I use?

If you have seen animal(s) in the same place at the same time (eg. an adult frog and some frogspawn in your garden pond one afternoon) then you can use the quick and easy Record a sighting form.

If you've seen animals in several different places (eg. several adders basking on a woodland walk) or over several different dates (eg. you have kept a list of what you saw in the summer on a regular walk) then you can save time by entering these using the Record a survey form.

Can I enter records even if I don't know which species I've seen?

Yes, we will still be interested in your records. As long as you know the type of animal you have seen (eg. snake, lizard, newt) then you can choose the "Unknown" option for that species type when entering your records. If you have a photo of the sighting please upload it with your record, along with any notes which might help your local verifier. If the verifier is able to identify the species from your photograph or notes, they will complete the record for you.

Please do bear in mind when entering your records that although we have local experts checking and verifying records, as with any online recording system we are very much reliant on the information you provide. If in any doubt please use the notes box when entering your records to describe what you have seen.

Can I enter records without knowing an exact grid reference?

Yes, you can search for the location using a postcode or place name near to your sighting, then use the interactive map to pinpoint the exact location. The recording form will then calculate the grid reference for you.

Can I access records I have entered previously?

Yes, all you have to do is sign up as a Record Pool Recorder and you can access all of the records you have entered using that same email address (even if they were submitted before you signed up). You can view, sort and filter all of your records in our data table format, and also export them in .csv spreadsheet format.

Do I get a copy of my records?

Yes, every time you fill in a recording form, you receive a copy of your records by email. You can also access your previously entered records through our website by signing up as a Record Pool Recorder.

Do I need a photograph of the animals I saw?

No, but it can sometimes be helpful. The main value of photographs is to help with uncertain identification. If you upload a photograph of the animal you have recorded, it can help our local experts to verify your record with confidence.  If you have entered "Unknown newt," for instance, and provided a photograph then your local verifier may be able to complete your record from your photograph.

The other situation when a photograph is especially useful is for unusual observations. For example, we would be interested in a photograph if you see an unusually coloured snake, a frog with extra legs, a sick animal, or a predation event.

However, photographs are not essential so please submit records even if you haven't captured the observation on your camera.

How does the embargo date setting work?

We recognise that in some cases, it is preferable to delay public access to your data. This may be the case if you are a scientist working on data you plan to publish later, or a consultant ecologist working on a development site.  The Record Pool's embargo function addresses this issue by allowing to enter records and setting public access to commence only after a set period of time.

You enter the records as normal and set an embargo date on them. Embargoed records are completely hidden from view by anyone - they are held securely in the database until the embargo date has passed, at which point they can be accessed like any other record. We hope this feature will encourage you to submit your survey records whilst they are to hand, knowing that they will not be released until a set point in the future.

You can choose any embargo date from tomorrow to 2 years from now. Please note that you are able to access and download your own embargoed records at any time in the "My records" data page when logged in, but nobody else will be able to view your records until your embargo date has passed. Our administrators do have access to a count of how many embargoed records have been entered by whom in order to track the usage of this feature.

What does marking my records as sensitive do?

Marking your records as sensitive limits the location resolution available in our public dataset, following the same rules as for sensitive species (10km resolution). Please see the Data access levels page for further information. 

Do I have to type my name and email in every time I submit a record?

No, if you sign up as a Record Pool Recorder then each time you go to fill in a recording form when logged in your name and email address will be pre-entered.

When will my records be verified?

You will be able to see when your records have been verified when you are logged in and on the "My records" Data page. Please note that our verifiers offer their time voluntarily, and that verifying can take considerable effort. It may be several weeks or months from entering your records to them being verified.


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