Free Species Recording Database?

Good afternoon all

I have recently bought a house in Scotland and I am starting to record all the invertebrates I find in the garden and little piece of scrub land outside the back gate. I am trying to find somewhere to record everything but I’m struggling.

All I want is something simple where I can put the name in, add a note and a photograph, and have tabs at the bottom with species (Spiders, Beetles, Flies etc)

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Thank you

There’s an embarassment of choices for generalised database systems

but I don’t know which meet the requirement of simplicity.

The spreadsheet applications in any of the free office suites (or MS Excel if you have it) might be sufficient.

I rolled my own with XML, but I’m not tieing observations to photographs.

If you are just starting recording I’d say take a look at the online iRecord system -

Only downside is that it is online so if (unlikely as it may be) the organisation that runs it stops all your data would just disappear - although you can export it a an excel file I think.

I strongly recommend iNaturalist for what you describe. You can set up a project for your backyard like this one

here’s a blog post on that particular belgium family garden project

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You can of course do exactly the same with iSpot but I might caution you against doing it in either citizen science platform unless you think about obfuscating the observations as in the inat example shown here everyone can see exactly where you live and what kind of house and garden you have. You may or may not want to show people where you live on a public platform.

True - by definition citizen-science which includes ispot, irecord, and inaturalist create and share data. Just using a system of folders on your computer might be best if you don’t want data to leave your computer

inaturalist does have tools to ‘obscure’ your locations from the public. I’m not sure if ispot does too. For example, I was looking through the various garden projects like the one I mentioned on inaturalist
and the one in third place looks to be doing this
As you can see, the public sees everything blurred out to a 0.2x0.2 degree cell, but the person who made the project will see the exact coordinates

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I swallowed the potential danger when I started MY Garden project here in iSpot
It’s been running for six years and all that;s happened is someone sent me Chocolate (anonymously) two weeks ago.
I tell you what though, you will get reasonable feed back in iSpot, almost NONE in iNat (I have projects in both)

Thank you everyone for your replies and ideas, I really appreciate it.

If I’m honest all I want is a basic excel type setup, tabs at the side or bottom with species type i. e Spiders / Bees / Beetles / Snails, and when you click into the tab you get a list you can scroll down of all the insects in that category, each with name, basic notes and a picture.

I’m not a technophobe so although it sounds simple I was hoping something similar might exist somewhere that I could alter

It also depends what you want it for, if it is for keeping track of your photos then that is something quite different to making species records.
If you are serious about making species records then one of the standard recording systems that people in UK use is best as they are then compatable with all the other linked systems in UK such as irecord but also the schemes and socs for each group of organisms. Some of those groups do indeed just accept excel spreadsheets but others prefer other systems, your local biological records office would give advice on this to find your local one.

Brilliant Mike, thank you.

Here is a good example of what can be done:

But not easy to replicate.

That’s quite neat and powerful John, thanks

I would second iNaturalist as the easiest upload and recording interface!
Also in terms of the breadth of support for identification of a range of species ( as there is an autosuggest also )
iRecord much slower/more clumsy UI + no dialogue with identifiers…
Both have experts in certain families but not in others though, so it does depend on what you want to record.

On both you can export spreadsheets afterwards at the end of the year to turn into Excel form.
iNaturalist ones for example have URL links to the photos which are kept online.

iNaturalist data goes to GBIF and from there is accessible to LERCs and national recording schemes.

I gave up on iRecord - it was so slow it became tiresome, so my good intentions came to nothing. It was someone on that platform, however, who introduced me to iSpot which, at that time, I had not heard of.
I might try iNaturalist…

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