In this section of the Archives we list handbooks and publications that have provided guidance to different sectors of the biodiversity data community.


2017: Guidance for Local Authorities: accessing biodiversity data through your Local Environmental Records Centres

Originally published by NBN, ALERC and Association of Local Government Ecologists in 2011.  Updated in 2013, and further updated in 2017 in light of NBN Atlas launch.


2012: GBIF-ICLEI Best Practice Guide for Biodiversity Data Publishing by Local Governments 

This best practice guide provides a summary of information about biodiversity data publishing that is relevant to users in local government. It should be used in conjunction with other guides that GBIF has published to provide more detailed
information and guidance on the use of specific tools or methods related to different steps in the data publishing pathway.

Reference: GBIF (2012). GBIF-ICLEI Best Practice Guide for Publishing Biodiversity Data by Local Governments, (contributed by Cadman, M.J.; Chavan, V.; Patrickson, S.; Galt, R.; Mader, A.; Sood, R.; Hirsch, T.) Copenhagen: Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Pp. 62, ISBN: 87-92020-37-2


2007: Guidance for Local Authorities on Implementing the Biodiversity Duty. Defra

Local authorities play a vital role in the conservation of biodiversity, and this document provides guidance specifically aimed at helping them to implement their Biodiversity Duty. The guidance aims to help all local authority staff to have regard to biodiversity in their work, and to inform senior executives and elected members of the many opportunities to take account of biodiversity at corporate level.


2007: Biodiversity Duty – Guidance for Local Authorities (LGiU)


2007: Running a Biological Recording Survey or Scheme. NBN

The production of this handbook stemmed from many years of discussions with, seminars involving, and assistance given to various voluntary recording schemes and societies across the country under the auspices of the UK Biological Records Centre and more recently the National Biodiversity Network, of which it forms a part.

Reference: James, T. 2007. Running a Biological Recording Scheme or Survey. A handbook to help scheme or society administrators. NBN.


2006: Improving wildlife data quality: Guidance on data verification, validation and their application in biological recording.  NBN

These guidance notes focus on wildlife data verification and validation, in the context of the overall collection, management and dissemination of information. They are intended for use by anyone involved in collecting or using wildlife data. They are not intended to be the last word. Different participants in biological recording will have more or less of a need to adopt particular methods. One solution will not suit everyone.

Reference: James, T. 2006. Improving wildlife data quality: Guidance on data verification, validation and their application in biological recording. NBN.


2003: The NBN Data Model – Part 1 Description of the Model

This report was commissioned by the National Biodiversity Network. The contract (part of DEFRA Contract No. CR0241), funded under the Joint Agreement with DEFRA and placed by BioD Service Ltd, was awarded to and has been carried out by Charles Copp of Environmental Information Management.  This report provides an update and explanation of a model for biological and earth sciences field and collection records, referred to as the NBN Data Model together with a description of a number of physical data models and applications based upon it.

Reference: Copp, C.J.T. (2003) The NBN Data Model – Part 1 Description of the Model.  Unpublished Report. Environmental Information Management


2001: Linking Local Record Centres; Developing Operational Standards and Good Practice Guidance – Phase 1

This report was.prepared as a contribution to the NBN by the Wildlife Trusts, a member of the consortium helping to establish the National Biodiversity Network.  The main objectives of the study were to document the work of six established LRCs; evaluate the effectiveness of their existing policies, practices and operational management in meeting the needs of customers and suppliers and draft recommendations on the reparation and implementation of operational standards and good practice guidelines.


2001: Local Record Centres and marine data – Guidelines on data management.  NBN & The Wildlife Trusts

These guidelines were prepared as a contribution to the development of the NBN as part of the NBN’s Linking Local Record Centres (LRCs) Project. It is part of a range of guidelines prepared for LRCs and their partners.


1999: Lanarkshire Biological Information Survey

This study was commissioned by Lanarkshire Biological Recording Forum (LBRF), and funded by Scottish Natural Heritage, to provide baseline information to underpin a development process plan leading towards a Local Biological Records Centre for North and South Lanarkshire. The remit of this study was to: i) assess the format and scope of biological information currently held by organisations within the Lanarkshire area; ii) assess the recording priorities of partner organisations and iii) assess the priorities of potential customers of biological information.

Reference: Mellor, D. (1999) Lanarkshire Biological Information Survey – LBRF – Report – February 1999


1999: A Source Book for Biological Recording in Scotland. BRISC 

The scope of the source book embraces every aspect of biological recording: the collection, processing and use of data, techniques, standards and principles in biological recording, co-operation and data exchange, and also where to find out more.  The first two sections deal with the purpose and techniques of biological recording, principles and standards of data collection, management and co-operation. The next two sections look at where to find information, both locally (Local Records Centres) and nationally (the huge range of national recording schemes), their activities, publications, recommended identification guides, etc. The final section is concerned with putting information to use through Local Biodiversity Action Plans.

Reference: Smout, A.M. and Mellor, D. eds., (1999) Source Book for Biological Recording in Scotland. BRISC.


1998: Guidelines on Standards and Good Practice for Biological Recording and Recorder Users. SNH

Reference: Biological Recording in Scotland (1998) Guidelines on Standards and Good Practice for Biological Recording and Recorder Users. Scottish Natural Heritage Research, Survey and Monitoring Report No 107. 


1997: Guidelines for Mammal Recorders.  The Mammal Society

Guidelines for Mammal Recorders provides a step-by-step guide for Mammal Recorders to standardised methods for generating, checking, processing and presenting local mammal records and suggests a minimum core of functions to perform. The text reviews current thinking and policies for best practice and is designed to be dipped into as information is needed. The background and rationale for these recommendations are not discussed in detail although they may be followed up in the references provided.

  • 1997 – Guidelines for Mammal Recorders by Gillie Sargent  [PDF, 51pp, 2669kB] – PENDING SHARING PERMISSION


1978: Handbook for Local Biological Record Centres.  Flood and Perring

One of the major concerns of the Biological Records Centre has been to ensure that past and present biological information is readily available to all who require it and to this end has been encouraging the establishment of local Records Centres. As these have proliferated (over 50 by 1978) it has become clear that they need guidance if the maximum value is to be made of their potential. At the same time the Biology Curators Group has been established, with the aim of coordinating the activities of biologists in museums. Because of the important role that museums have played in the development of local biological records centres, BRO and BCG have realised the value of cooperating in the production of this handbook.

  • 1978 – Handbook for Local Biological Record Centres.  Flood and Perring [ ] – PENDING SHARING PERMISSION

Reference: Flood, S.W. and Perring, F.H. (1978) A Handbook for local Biological Record Centres. Huntingdon, Institute of Terrestrial Ecology


1977: Biological Records Centre – Instruction for recorders.  2nd Edition. 

The distribution maps schemes aim to collect records of the occurrence of the plants and animals in the British Isles, from which distribution maps, lists of localities of particular species and lists of species from particular localities can be prepared.  The following handbook provides guidance on use of recording cards and submission of data to BRC.

  • 1977 – Biological Records Centre – Instructions for recorders.  2nd Edition.  Heath and Scott [ ] – PENDING SHARING PERMISSION

Reference: Heath, J. and Scott, D. (1977) Biological Records Centre – Instructions for Recorders. Huntingdon, Biological Records Centre


1975, 1977: A Guide to Biological Recording in Scotland

This manual is intended as a source of information about biological recording of all kinds, covering both the national distribution-mapping schemes and all of the other surveys and recording projects currently active in Scotland. It describes the aims of each scheme and gives an indication of the amount of work and degree of skill required from anybody wishing to participate. The appendices of addresses, reference works and distribution maps are intended to provide a useful  way-in to potential recorders. It is hoped that bringing together all the schemes in this way will give readers of this manual some idea of the scope of the investigations being carried out and the part that they might play in improving the knowledge we have of the plants, animals and habitats of Scotland.

Reference: Sommerville, A. (1975) A Guide to Biological Recording in Scotland.

Reference: Sommerville, A. (1977) A Guide to Biological Recording in Scotland. Edinburgh, Scottish Wildlife Trust.


1973: Reserve Recording – Instructions for Wardens.  Biological Records Centre

The Biological Records Centre (BRC) at Monks Wood Experimental Station, in collaboration with the Conservation Branch of the Nature Conservancy has devised a system which standardises the keeping of reserve records and makes it easy for these to be sorted and reproduced for all those who need them. These instructions have been prepared to help wardens to complete the cards and understand the importance of the system.

  • 1973: Reserve Recording – Instructions for Wardens [PDF, 40pp, 1141kB] – PENDING SHARING PERMISSION

Reference: Perring, F.H., G.L. Radford & G.F. Peterken. (1973) Reserve recording: Instructions for Wardens. Monks Wood Exp. St.


1969: Biological Sites Recording Scheme.  S.P.N.R Conservation Liaison Committee

This booklet introduces and explains the new standard system which has been devised for recording basic information about sites of biological interest which are of importance for conservation. The scheme was designed primarily for the use of the Conservation and Naturalists’ Trusts in recording information about nature reserves and other sites of scientific interest which will enable them to prepare their future conservation policies and management plans.

  • 1969: Biological Sites Recording Scheme.  Technical Publication No. 1 [PDF, 22pp, 1388kB] – PENDING SHARING PERMISSION