2 Easy Ways To Record Wildlife Observations Through Your Website

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Record Wildlife

Many of the wildlife recording groups who are members of the NBN have a need to record wildlife through their own website. Allowing their members to have an easily accessible solution to send their biological observations to the national database. The simplest way to do this is by embedding an iRecord form on your own site. Read on to find two ways that you can do just that.

What Is iRecord?

iRecord is a website for sharing wildlife records, including associated photos. You can add your biological observations for others to see and if you register (for free), you can see what has been recorded by others and track your own progress.

Your data will be kept secure and will be regularly backed up. Automatic checks will be applied to your observations to help spot potential errors and experts can review your sightings. All wildlife sightings for non-sensitive species are shared with other users and will be made available to National Recording SchemesLocal Record Centres and Vice County Recorders (VCRs).

The goal of iRecord is to make it easier for wildlife sightings to be collated, checked by experts and made available to support research and decision making at local and national levels.

iRecord is being developed by the Biological Records Centre on behalf of the National Biodiversity Network (NBN), through funding from the Big Lottery project OPAL and the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

Using iRecord To Record Wildlife?

iRecord has been developed using Indicia, an open-source and free toolkit for making it relatively easy to build websites to Record Wildlife and for biological recording. A key component of Indicia is a data warehouse that is a spatially enabled, relational database to provide secure, standardised, rapid data input and reporting facilities.

iRecord data and data from many other Indicia implementations, is held within a digital warehouse hosted at the Biological Records Centre on behalf of the recording community.

Key Features

  • Record all the wildlife you see
  • Securely store and keep track of your records
  • Benefit from automatic data checks and review by experts
  • Share your sightings with the recording community
  • Explore dynamic maps, reports and graphs of your data
  • Explore data shared by other recorders in your area and/or for species groups you are interested in
  • Contribute to science and conservation

Future Enhancements

iRecord is committed to making a user friendly and enjoyable website for contributing wildlife sightings. They already have plans for the following enhancements:

  • Automatic synchronisation with the UK Species Inventory (NBN/NHM Species Dictionary)
  • Enhancement to the site messaging system
  • Incorporation of additional NBN Record Cleaner rule sets
  • Data synchronisation with other online and desktop systems, including iSpot, BirdTrack, Marine Sightings Network, Recorder and MapMate.

What Is An iFrame?

To show a wildlife recording form on your website you will need to embed a specific page from iRecord’s website using what’s called an iFrame. An iFrame is like an open window in your website, that users can reach through and access the other site that you put behind it.

The html code for an iFrame looks like this:

<iframe src="https://embed-this-page.com"></iframe>

1. Embed iFrame Wildlife Recording Form

The web address (URL) for the iRecord casual records page is this https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/enter-casual-record. To place a casual record submission form on your own website, you will need to use the html text editing aspect of your chosen CMS and the following piece of html code:

<iframe src="https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/enter-casual-record"></iframe>

TOP TIP: Both the page on your website and the source URL you use in the iFrame must start with https://

Sizing Your iRecord Form iFrame

Your iFrame may not be sized correctly for your needs. You can resolve this by simply defining the desired width and height in your html code.

Like this:

<iframe src="https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/enter-casual-record" width="100%" height="900px"></iframe>

This should result in a form being displayed on your page that looks like this:

2. Use Our iRecord WordPress Plugin

White Rabbit has created a plugin to make this entire process really easy for WordPress users. Using our WP iRecord Form plugin, you can easily insert the iRecord Casual Record form into your WordPress website, using the shortcode [wpirecord]. Our plugin isn’t available from the WordPress Plugin Directory just yet, but you can use this link to download the WP iRecord Form Plugin beta release.

Just download the zip file and upload it to the Add New Plugin page of your WordPress admin area. Once the plugin is installed and activated, place the shortcode above into whichever page you would like to display the iRecord casual record form on.

Record Wildlife On Your Own Website

Now you and your group members can submit their own data and Record Wildlife observations directly to the BRC via your website. If they register for free and create an account in iRecord, users will be able to track their submission and see when they get verified, as well as access to the full suite of features available.

Accessing Your Wildlife Records

Once submitted your biological record will be immediately available to view by iRecord members. After verification your recording may be shared with other associated organisations as detailed below.

iRecord Data Sharing

iRecord datasets are stored in a secure database, are archived daily and accessible to anyone via the website. Records entered into their website will also be made available to relevant individuals and organisation(s), e.g. Vice County Recorders, Recording Schemes and SocietiesLocal Record Centres and the Archive for Marine Species and Habitats Data (DASSH), at full capture resolution to enable verification and sharing via the NBN Atlas.

Wherever possible, verified data will be made freely publicly available, with the exception of sensitive records, and with full acknowledgement of relevant organisation(s) providing verification input. For some taxon groups, data will be automatically supplied from iRecord to the NBN Atlas on behalf of National Recording Schemes. For other schemes, data from the BRC will be collated alongside other datasets before being made available to the NBN Atlas.