WSBRC receives and sources biological and geological information from a wide variety of individuals, organisations and schemes in a number of different formats. Information can be received in electronic formats such as spreadsheets, documents, databases and bespoke recording packages, or it can come to us in paper format such as notebooks, recording cards, ecological survey reports or notes. In addition habitat land-use data is interpreted from survey information, OS MasterMap tiles and aerial photos.
Where do our records come from?
Information on species, sites and habitats are gathered and interpreted from a wide variety of sources including published reports from ecological consultancies and researchers and commissioned surveys and data provided by other voluntary and statutory organisations; but most species records are collected by volunteers. These provide the majority of WSBRC’s species records and we support our local recorders by providing them relevant tools and guidance to promote good practice in biological recording. A network of approved volunteer experts, the County Recorders, provide us with most specialist records and undertake records verification but we also rely upon general recorders to keep us up-to-date on what is happening in the county.
Verification & validation
We recognise that the data we hold and provide needs to be as accurate as possible. However datasets do not represent complete coverage in terms of species or habitats present within the county. Site quality changes over time and species move in and out of areas – some with greater frequency than others. The data reflects a snapshot of what was present at the time of the survey or sighting, and so should be seen as a guide rather than a definitive statement of the condition of an area.
Data held by WSBRC is validated as fully as possible to ensure such factors as geographical and temporal accuracy of each record as well as formatting or inputting errors. Validation is done by manual checking as well as by automated routines within our database system. In addition, WSBRC staff and County Recorders, in particular, undertake verification of records ensuring that notable species or new records for an area are correctly identified.
Records will be accepted by WSBRC on the understanding that the data will be used by WSBRC and made available to enquirers under the terms and conditions set out within this section of our website.
We request that wherever possible biological data relating to Wiltshire & Swindon collected by users of our service is shared with WSBRC at the end of the project. Such information adds to the value of the existing data held by WSBRC and is in the interest of all parties.