[TN-Bird] archiving bird data

  • From: Steve Stedman <SSTEDMAN@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, birdky@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2003 14:29:40 -0500 (CDT)

If you collect many bird data and wonder how to
archive them so that they can be preserved and also
be accessible to people interested in birds in the
future, you might want to consider placing your
data in the eBird database.

I believe eBird data will be about as reliably
preserved as any electronic data out there. If
CBC data can be considered to be permanently
preserved by BirdSource, operating under the 
umbrella of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology
and National Audubon, then the same should be true
of eBird data.

A truly large and important advantage of placing
your data in eBird is its cost, which is absolutely
nothing now and should remain that way for a long
time to come.

Another advantage of having your data in eBird is
the ability to create and send electronic checklists
of your data and to create weekly, monthly, and
yearly reports of species recorded at a given site.

Another advantage will be to allow future researchers
to have access to an electronically manipulatable
version of your records, presuming they have a valid
reason for requesting access.  Public access to your
personal data is currently somewhat restricted, as
it ought to be; indeed, your data will remain essentially
private as long as you live except when you specifically
authorize access. Public access is now limited to
maps which display sites where a given species has
been noted, but without mentioning observers, numbers,
or dates when data were collected.  In some ways this
restriction is bothersome, but it does ensure privacy
and a degree of control over the data by the person
taking the data.

The only disadvantage of storing your bird data in
eBird is the time it takes to input the data.  I have
put data from 360 checklists into the eBird database
during the last month; in all I spent about 25 hours
at this task.  I learned to use the system early in
the morning when data entry runs far faster than it
does during most of the rest of the day.

If you have not tried eBird, it is easily accessed
at this address:

For best results, be sure to use Internet Explorer, or
an equivalently configured browser, but not Netscape,
to enter data.

Steve Stedman
Cookeville, TN
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