Online recording has significant potential to improve the efficiency of biodiversity data flow.

It can also help to facilitate structured surveillance and monitoring, to increase data mobilisation from the commercial, academic and public sectors and to provide much-needed support to the network of experts who provide verification services, often on a voluntary basis.

The benefits of online recording are already widely acknowledged by the biodiversity data management sector, and various online recording systems have been developed by key organisations including several local environmental records centres and national recording schemes. Online recording will only achieve its full potential if these systems can interoperate and are based on a shared set of standards.

The NBN already has a suite of tools, standards and principles which provide a secure and equitable basis for the dissemination and use of biodiversity data. These provide a firm foundation, but are likely to need some extension and development to meet emerging requirements.

There is a need for standards to support interoperability in online recording and data exchange etc., The NBN Secretariat began coordinating work towards this in 2011 and published an initial working draft of online recording standards in October 2012, following consultation with a selection of online recording system developers.  The draft standards are available for download below.

NBN Standards for Online Recording Oct 12

What do you want from a biological recording website?

If you are considering your own biological recording website or online recording survey, firstly, you need to think about what you want.

Indicia is a toolkit that simplifies the construction of new websites which allow data entry, mapping and reporting of wildlife records. It’s not a finished online survey website – think of Indicia as a kit car as opposed to a manufactured car. You get the wheels, engine and all the important tricky bits ready-made, but you still have to assemble the parts.

To find out more go to the Indicia website or for help in setting up your site go to the NBN forum

Indicia training material for developers can be found at the following online link

Don’t worry if you are not a web developer as we have tools that enable you to build your site within the website content management system – Drupal.

Instant Indicia

Instant Indicia is the quickest way to build websites using Indicia. Instant Indicia provides Indicia functionality already integrated into a content management system alongside the other tools needed to build online recording websites. You simply select from the list of “features” you want to enable on your website – input forms, reports, maps, verification etc – and Instant Indicia does the rest.

More specifically, Instant Indicia is an extension of the Drupal content management system for building online recording websites. Once installed, the basis of an online recording site can be built simply by selecting from a number of ready-made building blocks and performing a few configuration tasks.

A comprehensive tutorial on the use of Indicia is now available.  Once you are ready to create your own online recording site you can find out more on the Instant Indicia website


iRecord is one of the major Indicia implementations.  It has been created 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

Go to iRecord

For queries on iRecord and help with setting up recording forms, please use this email address