iRecord: An Introduction

iRecord is a free tool created by the Biological Record Centre (BRC) to support naturalists and biological recording schemes and societies.

It is a website (and associated mobile apps) for submitting, verifying and sharing wildlife observations (biological records), including associated media such as photos and audio files.

Supporting naturalists

iRecord aims to simplify the process for those wishing to submit their wildlife observations as biological records by facilitating biological recording of all taxonomic groups in one place. For the Recorder, this has two key benefits:

  1. Simplifying the submission process by allowing a single submission pathway for all taxonomic groups. This means the recorder doesn’t need to separate out records by species group and submit the records to the various National Recording Schemes & Societies (NRSSs).*
  2. Collating all of the personal biological records for individual users into a single database. This provides a one-stop shop for storing records of all species groups and iRecord account holders can download their personal records from the website.

* Please note that not all taxonomic groups have active verifiers engaging with iRecord. This may be because there is no active NRSS or the existing NRSS does not engage with iRecord (either due to capacity limitations or choice).

Supporting biological recording organisations

At its most basic, iRecord is a tool for biological record submission, validation and verification.

The processes included within the data-flow pathway of a biological record.
  • Submission The iRecord system acts as a biological record submission form and allows the recorder to pass on their data to biological recording schemes and societies.
  • Vaildation iRecord facilitates data validation by ensuring that data is recorded in formats that are consistent and correct. As well as improving data accuracy, this also allows biological records to be grouped and compared.
  • Verification Records are assessed by designated verifiers that have sufficient experience of a given species group, often local or even national experts. Verifiers assess the likely accuracy of the species identification based on various factors, such as recorder experience, ID difficulty and any images provided.
    • Records are then tagged as Accepted if the identification is deemed correct or likely to be correct.
    • And Not accepted if the identification is deemed incorrect or the verifier is unable to verify the record due to a lack of supporting evidence.

However, for many recording initiatives it is also a tool that plays an important role in all aspects of the biological recording data-flow pathway, including creation and sharing of biological records.

  • Creation In addition to the iRecord app for mobile devices, a number of recording initiatives have devised species group-specific recording apps, such as the iRecord Butterflies and Asian Hornet Watch apps.
  • Collation iRecord collates and makes data available to the following biological recording organisations:
    • National Recording Schemes & Societies (NRSSs) can access and verify all records for the organisms that they cover.
    • Local Environmental Record Centres (LERCs) can access all records within their geographic boundary.
    • Other groups and organisations can set up activities that to enable them to also be able to gather records through the platform, enabling them to make use of the iRecord verification network and data validation processes.
  • Dissemination If NRSSs choose to, they can set it up so that records for the species groups they cover are automatically shared with the NBN Atlas through iRecord.
iRecord stats as of 27th April 2020, provided by Biological Records Centre.

Improving data quality

The better the quality of the data, the more ways in which it can be used for scientific research and informing conservation (see Data Quality for more information). In addition to facilitating validation and verification processes, iRecord also improves data quality by facilitating bespoke species group forms to gather information that may be particularly relevant to a species group or project.

iRecord ‘Enter a list of bat records’ Species Group Form. To improve the data quality of bat records, this form includes fields with bespoke options including ‘Record type’ and ‘Identification method’.

iRecord Main Menu

The iRecord homepage, indicating location of the Main Menu headings.
  • Home Returns the user to the iRecord home page
  • Record Access the forms that can be used to submit biological records into the iRecord data warehouse
  • Explore Access the reports that can be used to explore the biological records held within the iRecord data warehouse
  • Summarise View summaries of your own data and the data collected through various surveys and apps
  • Activities Access existing and set up new recording initiatives using the various forms and reports available through the platform
  • Verify (old) Only visible for registered verifiers Access the old verification portal
  • Verify Only visible for registered verifiers Access the new verification portal
  • Forum Access the iRecord community forum
  • Help View the various iRecord guidance pages
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