Entering records in BMSFRD format
If you are creating a database, or extracting records from a database for submission to the BMSFRD, it helps to follow the column structure shown above but it is not essential. More critical is what is entered in each field and the notes alongside the fields above should be heeded. You do not need to follow the field length exactly. However, bear in mind that if you use fields longer than indicated your data may be truncated on import to the BMSFRD.
It is unhelpful if you combine any two or more fields into one of your own as they then have to be split and it is not usually easy to do this (e.g. Associated organism and Substrate). You may wish to have more fields in your ‘home’ database than those in the BMSFRD. One might, for instance, have a field for First Record, entering one character if it is a first for the Site, or a different character, or a further field, if it is a first for the County. These extra fields should be removed before submitting data to the BMSFRD.
‘Current Name’ will be the name recognised in the current British Checklist, but the recorder does not have to worry whether he/she is using the current name. Any correctly spelt synonym in use will be acceptable. The database program is able to recognise these and will automatically enter the ‘Current Name’.
A consistent approach to the use of site names is recommended to make the database as user friendly and easily searchable as possible. Much confusion can be created if different recorders use completely different names for the same geographical site. This can be avoided if those individuals recording electronically for a recording group create a drop down database of site names to standardise this process. It is recommended that those recording fungi on an individual basis check with other local recorders that the site name they are using is the one in general use. If in doubt they should use the name, or nearest appropriate name, given on the most detailed OS map. If recorders are recording in some detail by field or forest compartment, then the largest name should be entered first e.g. ‘Blencathra, field study centre, field 1’ or ‘Bentley Wood, compartment 4’.
The fields ‘Associated organism’, ‘Substrate*’ and ‘Ecosystem’
It is anticipated that these fields will be used as keys to searches. It is important, therefore, that Latin names of trees and other plants should be used in the associated organism field and that there should not be a multiplicity of terms used to describe the same substrate or ecosystem, otherwise the database search may not find all the relevant records.
The Latin name should, where possible, be the full name - that is, the binomial comprising generic name and specific epithet. Where the species is not known just enter the genus (not the genus name followed by ‘sp.’ - this provides no additional information and causes sorting problems).
Where the genus itself is unknown, some attempt should be made at giving a higher name - for example in the case of a flowering plant, the family (e.g. Rosaceae). For grasses, use Poaceae; for ferns, Pteridopsida; for mosses, Musci; and for liverworts, Hepaticae. Recorders are not expected to be skilled botanists but for entries submitted to the BMSFRD some effort is required to give a correct Latin name for plants, even if only to class, order or family level.