Thank you to those of you who completed the NBN Conference feedback questionnaire.

Your comments are really helpful in assessing the format of the annual conference and in helping us to plan subsequent events.  The responses (given by around a third of attendees) are shown below.

General comments

The comments below reflect a cross section of feedback received, or where comments covered similar points:

Overall format

  • It might have been beter to give the possibility of attending 2 knowledge exchange sessions
  • Maybe a little more time could be given over for Q and A. Although some talks didn’t generate many questions, others generated a lot.
  • If questions are to be saved to the end of the session rather than after the talk, then there should be chance to have questions before the breaks, rather than waiting to the end of the entire session.
  • Intervals between presentations, workshops and breaks was good. It was easy to stay focused throughout the day.
  • It worked well, a good mix of long and short talks, workshops and networking time.
  • An ealier finish on the 2nd day would prevent so many people having to leave before the end, especially those who have to travel a bit further.
  • Better range and quality of speakers, great venue, best conference so far
  • The overall format has improved greatly over the last few years, with inspiring plenary broken up by ample breaks and more interactive formats like the small workshops. With such a wealth of knowledge and experience in the room it is great to have the opportunity for interactive discussion. The next step would be to bring in some more techniques for encouraging structured networking but all in all top stuff!
  • Good mix of stakeholders, but possibly too few recorders/recording schemes.
  • Not much about access controls or other NBN Atlas changes/proposals.
  • LERCs seemed less well represented in terms of attendees and talks than I would like.
  • Maybe too much time devoted to workshops with little outcomes.

Future topics

  • An Atlas update – perhaps as a knowledge exchange workshop. A more revealing govt or NE scientist perspective
  • It would be good to have workshops on both days.
  • More on Recorder 6, SBIF Review and Reporting the State of our Nature.
  • I was less happy with some of the topics on day 2 since they seemed more like a standard British Ecological Society conference rather than NBN. The talks were interesting but less appropriate.
  • Perhaps more ‘recording’ talks.
  • More on flow of data would be nice, but it’s a difficult area!
  • Poor representation from LERCs and National Recording Scheme in the programme this year. It appears to reduce year-on-year.
  • Perhaps a little more about biological recording and a little less about citizen science, just to strike a balance!
  • Lots of interesting talks about the wider network partners, but not enough about the NBN Atlas
  • Techniques for data collection on different taxa. More details about how to record efficiently and how to enter data quickly
  • I was delighted to see so much content gearing towards engagement and people focused approaches – not endless data flow diagrams
  • More technical data presentations or data use presentations.
  • I like the variety of speakers I wouldn’t usually encounter, there is a danger of seeing the usual suspects time and again at conferences, so the variety was refreshing.
  • I was really pleased to see the farming, fishing, water and road sectors featured. Conservation has a tendency towards speaking into echo chambers so it was really positive to see these large landowners/manager represented and see how they are using advice and data from the community.

Thoughts on the time of year and comments for future events

  • Right time of year – it now has a natural slot in the annual sector events.
  • Time of year is ideal
  • Good that it’s in the ‘off season’ when people aren’t out recording.
  • Over the years, we’ve needed more speakers who have actually used the data. This takes time as the Atlas needs to grow and grow its user base. This conference seemed to have a few very positive examples of data use however, so that was good to see. Hopefully that will continue next year.
  • In the knowledge exchange session I was in, it was great to have the chance to talk to the developers directly. Sophia did an excellent job of engaging with Atlas users in a positive way, which is not such an easy thing to do. This is something to continue next year.
  • More on what an LRC does for local recorders, more on why LRCs are classed as ‘commercial’ and more about the real data sharing problems we are all facing.
  • Although attractive, the brochure would be more convenient and perhaps more economical if in A5 format.
  • The option of an electronic brochure would save printing costs and paper useage and would mean delegates didn’t have to carry it around. Brochure and notes could be kept on a smart device although the brocure is excellent.
  • A help desk for NBN data contributors and users might have been a useful

And finally…thank you to one of our delegates for this lovely comment!

“It is a delightful conference full of delightful people and the talks and topics are first rate for anyone interested in recording”

UK Awards for Biological Recording 2018 – ceremony feedback

If you attended the UK Awards’ ceremony, you can read the comments and feedback received here.