Topic: Essential Discussion

There's an essential and valuable consultation happening on the Recorder SmartGroup regarding the implementation of checking, validating and verifying records in Recorder. I'll post Hannah Betts' original post below in case you've not seen it. If you're not already subscribed to the group, you can sign up and view previous message threads via the message link on the SmartGroup site.

Hannah Betts wrote:

Dear All,

after seeing all of the interest in this subject over the last weeks of so I have spent some time investigating what actually happens in Recorder and what opinions are here on what should happen. Basically- as I think you have all realised from your own experiences it's a bit of a mess.
There is a lack of consistency in how it has been implemented which I think comes to a certain extent from a lack of understanding of how it should work.
There was also a fairly ambitious plan to assign "difficulty" ratings to species and "competancy" ratings to people that was just never implemented for reasons on politics and also time, energy and money.
The original method did not, even when it was designed, fully do what people needed it to do.

On the plus side; this means we now have the opportunity to look at it from scratch and make it work as we need it to do.  I have spoken to Dorset Software and it would seem that the changes that need making could be fairly small (though obviously that comes down to what we actually decide on) and it is obvious that they are needed. Funding may of course be an issue depending on the size  of the changes but we won't know until we work out what we want- so I think that we now need to agree as a community what we actually want it to do and take it from there. The design of the present system happened before my time so forgive me if we are going over conversations that happened ten years ago but best to make no assumptions.

I think that one of the problems with this debate is also that of terminology, verification, validation , confirmation etc. There are alot of terms going around the houses so again; forgive me if I start getting pedantic on terminologies and things; it's just so that we all understand what it is that we are talking about. Rather than discuss it all at the same time I thought we could start with one topic and then move on once that one has resolved. So to start with a nice easy one:

Record checking

The area that I think works pretty much ok at the moment is that of "checking". I think some people variously describe it as validation or verification aswell but lets stick to checking until we can agree a commonly agree term that differentiaters it from the other type of validation/verification. 

This is just a true/false field against species observation that says- yes, we have checked this against what was written on the card or in the book and it was correctly transcribed. It is not saying anything about whether the person was right in what they wrote down, it is just saying that it is what was written down. Each record must be "checked" individually which I know can be an irritation but for me, making it otherwise sort of defeats the purpose of the field.

The import wizard (which imports data that is already held in electronic form) automatically "checks" each record as it is imported. The main reason for this is that if the records are already in some sort of electronic form it must be assumed that they have been correctly transcribed and obviously, we are confident that what was in the electronic file was accurately copied over to Recorder.

Unchecked records are not exportable and, by default,  are not included in reports (although there is the option to include them if we want)

There is a small add-in which is loaded into the programme by default that allows people to filter to just the unchecked records. This shoudl allow people to make sure that they don't have any records floarting about that are unchecked when they don't know about it.

1. Are people generally happy with the concept of the "check box", the requirement for it and how people can fill it in?
2, Is there a term that people think is better than "checking"
3. Are people happy that if entries are made through the import wizard they are automatically "checked"
4. Any other comments etc to add to the mix


I'd really appreicate anyone's views on this.  So once we are happy with this one- it's onto the other, thornier issue.

Looking forward to it ;-)

Hannah