Do I have to pay to use the Record Pool?
No. Anyone can use the Record Pool without charge. You must register to obtain greater access, but there is no charge for this.
How is the Record Pool funded?
Development and operation costs are met by ARG UK and ARC. Much of the day to day operation is undertaken by volunteers. We are very grateful to Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage, who have assisted with development costs.
How is the Record Pool governed and operated?
The Record Pool is governed by the Record Pool Steering Committee. The Committee decides on the strategy and development of the Record Pool, while day to day operation is by the developer, ARG UK volunteers and ARC staff. The Committee comprises ARG UK volunteers, ARC staff and experienced local recorders. A Technical Working Group addresses specific operational queries on an ad hoc basis. If you have any queries about governance or operation, please contact us.
What if I've spotted an error, or have a suggestion?
If you have found a problem with the way Record Pool works, or you have a suggestion for future improvements, please let us know. As of February 2015, we have undergone a major overhaul and it's possible there will be some teething problems, so we'd be grateful for your feedback.
Is Record Pool designed for everyone, or just a particular type of user?
Record Pool has been designed to help anyone record their sightings online, whether they are an experienced professional or a member of the public.
Once I enter records into the Record Pool, where do they go?
Records sit on the Record Pool database. Records are typically sent to the Local Records Centre and/or local Amphibian and Reptile Group, and also to the National Biodiversity Network Gateway. The people and organisations who can see your records (unless they are embargoed) are: the Record Pool developer, ARG UK, ARC, the local recorder, and (where appropriate) the Record Pool Project Leaders.
Are Record Pool Local Recorder separate from existing recorders?
That is not the intention. We aim to ask existing experienced recorders to join in with the Record Pool, using their skills to assist with verification.
There are already lots of online recording options, so why did you set up the Record Pool?
Because none of the existing options fulfils our needs as a community. Running the Record Pool allows us to overcome some of the key frustrations of existing recording. We can create tailored interfaces for ARGs and special projects, for example. We can implement functionality that we think important, such as the "embargo" feature. Being tied to existing schemes means that we have little control over technical and governance issues, while running our own online recording gives freedom to operate in the best interests of the conservation community. However, Record Pool strives to integrate with existing recording initiatives, since unifying data is a key theme.
I already submit records online. Should I start submitting my sightings to the Record Pool instead of my existing scheme?
In most cases, no. If the scheme you use shares data with recognised local and national recording groups, and ensures that data are used for conservation purposes, then there is no point in switching to the Record Pool. One of the key principles of the Record Pool is that it captures data that would otherwise be lost, and if your data are already collected and used, that's great. We have no intention to compete with existing online recording schemes working for conservation benefit.