Sending in records

The recording scheme is ready and waiting to receive your records! These can be sent in various ways, see below. For more information contact Martin Harvey. I look forward to receiving your records! If you want to check whether your records are already in the scheme database please ask.

Via iRecord

The iRecord online recording system is very much our preferred route for receiving records (spreadsheets are also fine, see below). This has been developed by the Biological Records Centre as a way of making records available to recording schemes and local records centres, and also makes it quick and easy for records to be passed on to the NBN Atlas. iRecord is free to use, but you will need to register with the site to start entering records. A comprehensive user guide is available. We do our best to check records promptly but can't always respond in the busy summer months, and there is often a 'catch-up' in the winter.

To add records for soldierflies and allies go to iRecord's "Record" menu, and choose the form to “Enter a list of records” or the form for “Enter a casual record”. Please do say whether your record is of a male or a female wherever possible, and if you have a kept a specimen (or checked it under the microscope) add that to the comments. If you have a photo it can be attached to the record on iRecord. Photos are very much welcomed for anything you're not sure about, and for anything unusual, rare or difficult to identify. But if you have some experience with recording these species and are confident of your identification then it is not essential to add a photo with every record.

Via iNaturalistUK

iNaturalistUK is another online system. It is not our preferred route for records, because the records don't link in so well to our systems and we are not able to provide feedback in the same way we can on iRecord. Also, for records to be passed on to us they have to have a photo, whereas iRecord can accept records with or without photos. However, we are aware that iNaturalist is growing in popularity and has many good features. If you do add records via that route they will be forwarded to the scheme via an import to iRecord that happens automatically once the record reaches 'research grade' on iNaturalist. So your record will get to the scheme, but it will take longer and we cannot provide direct feedback.

If you use iNaturalist, you can help us by following these guidelines where possible:

  • Choose an open licence for your records: CC0 or CC BY will enable your records to be used as widely as possible; CC BY-NC (non-commercial) can prevent records being used by some schemes and records centres. Other licence choices (such as SA and ND) are difficult to interpret for individual records, and cannot be used in iRecord or the NBN Atlas (nor on GBIF).
  • Provide your real name if possible; this can be added as the “Display name” in your iNaturalist profile, and will then be used as the recorder name on iRecord
  • Avoid obscuring locations unless absolutely necessary, as this can prevent them being linked to grid references of suitable precision for recording scheme use
  • Now that the record import is in place, it is helpful if you can avoid adding the same record to both iNaturalist and iRecord, to avoid duplication of both records and of verifiers’ time.

Via spreadsheets

Records on a spreadsheet (such as Microsoft Excel, or the free Google Sheets) are fine. I prefer one record per spreadsheet row, and please include details of whether your record is of a male or a female, and whether you were able to check it under the microscope or have kept a specimen. I can supply a spreadsheet template if required.

Via MapMate

If you use the MapMate database I can usually accept sync files or spreadsheet exports, please contact me for further information.

Via other databases

There are other good biological recording databases available, such as Recorder 6 and Gilbert 21, both of which can produce spreadsheet exports that are fine for the recording scheme. Please do include the unique record IDs from the originating database if sending in data from these systems.

Via email

For one-off records or occasional sightings then just sending an email is fine (although if you do start recording on a regular basis one of the above methods is preferable).

On paper

Paper records are not forbidden! I have to say that they’re not my favourite thing, simply because they take more time to process, but where no other option is available paper records are of course welcome.

Help with identification from photos

There are various good systems for uploading photos and getting help with identification. The British Soldierflies Facebook group is very active, or you can add photos to iSpot, but once identified please send in your records via iRecord or one of the other routes outlined above.

Checking the records

The scheme organiser (Martin Harvey), with help from others in Dipterists Forum, checks incoming records to ensure that accuracy is maintained, and we may sometimes contact you to ask for further details about a particular record. It is in everyone's interest to maintain the quality of our data, and we will try to do this politely and diplomatically! For some species photos or specimens may be requested, or confirmation from another recorder may be advisable. 

Record sharing

Please note that records contributed to the recording scheme may be shared with other recorders, with local environmental records centres, with the National Biodiversity Network, with researchers and potentially with other recording schemes and conservation organisations. In return we will try to provide information and support to you, e.g. if you want to know what has already been recorded at your site or in your area contact the scheme.

The map below shows total coverage of all the records in the scheme database at August 2013.

Total coverage of all the records in the  scheme database at August 2013