International Elements

Recorder is actively used by Local Record Centres, National Recording Schemes and individuals throughout the UK and increasingly within Europe, particularly in Luxembourg and Germany.  The Musée national d'histoire naturelle du Luxembourg (Natural History Museum in Luxembourg) developed the Collections Module in 2003 to integrate the management of its specimen collections with observational data. In Germany the Zentrum für Biodokumentation (ZfB, Centre for Biological Documentation) and Bundesamt für Naturschutz (BfN, The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation) have developed Recorder-D, a German version of Recorder which is used in FloraWeb; a powerful web-based tool which provides access to 15 million vascular plant records in Germany. Delegates from both countries sit on the Recorder Steering Group and also contribute directly to the development of Recorder by funding enhancements to core Recorder which benefit all users.


Collections module

The Collections Module is a suite of addins developed by the Musée national d'histoire naturelle du Luxembourg in 2003 in conjunction with Dorset Software and Charles Copp The module effectively converts Recorder into a comprehensive system for maintaining records of natural history museum collections. It enables the recording of species and habitat observations as well as observations of geology, palaeontology and any other required domain such as specimen, collection, storage, accessions and movements. To support this, a powerful Thesaurus tool allows multiple taxonomies and thesauri from any scientific domain to be maintained and interrelated. The Thesaurus is essentially a repository of terms and their relationships used throughout the Collections Module. It provides terms in domains such as Fossil Taxi, Soil Types, Rock Types, as well as lists linked to specific controls in the application. The Recorder/Collections Module combination uniquely provides a single database platform for both field based observation data and collections data. Drill through from any specimen to view the field event information, the sample, the field recorders, the survey and locality information and much more.


The main components of the Collection Module are:

  • The Collections Browser which allows the user to navigate through collections, specimens and their related data as well as data entry for individual records.
  • The Thesaurus Browser which allows the user to navigate through the Thesaurus; a repository of terma dn their relationships used within the Collections Module. 

  • The Quick Data Entry Screen which facilitates rapid data entry of specimens and observations data.

Additional functionality within the Collections Module includes a range of additional types of occurrence in the observation hierarchy, the use of multiple base maps, a set of customised standard reports, enhancements to the detail of the related data of organisations and individuals and a specimen finder which allows users to build queries to locate specimens in the collection.



Recorder-D was developed in Germany between 2006 to 2009 by the Zentrum für Biodokumentation des Saarlandes (ZfB, Centre for Bio-documentation) and Bundesamt für Naturschutz (BfN, The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation). It was adapted from Recorder 6 by translating the user interface into German, implementing a spatial reference addin where all German base map projections and mapping grids are supported and by replacing specific taxonomic and geographical reference lists and termlists.
Recorder is in Germany mainly used by floristic and faunistic volunteer recorders.
The German floristic database holds distribution data from floristic surveys carried out since 1950: roughly 15 million records of plant observations. Most of this data has been entered using a software program developed and freely distributed from 1990 – 2000 called FlorEin. Recorder was chosen to replace this DOS-based software for a range of reasons including its functionality, comprehensive data exchange including the transport of metatdata and intellectual property rights, open and well-documented data model and the large numbers of users and an active support forum.
Recorder-D is supported by a helpdesk within ZfB and through a forum similar to the NBN Forum, hosted by the Recorder-D site. This is a forum in German with similar functions to the NBN Forum for English speaking users with announcements and questions about Recorder D.
German floristic data held in Recorder-D often feeds into FloraWeb, a digital web flora of vascular plants and vegetation types in Germany which is freely accessible over the internet (in German). FloraWeb incorporates a number of different functions: it serves as a data warehouse, dynamically produces webpages with information on plants and vegetation and provides evaluation tools for interactively querying data and displaying results in webpages and web-mapping tools. The most powerful evaluation tool in FloraWeb is FloraMap, a web mapping tool which can be used for displaying the distribution of single species or for any group of species that is fed into the tool. The map content is dynamically generated from the distribution database at runtime, so the maps are always as up-to-date as the database. Besides displaying distribution data, FloraMap can also be used for data entry of new plant observations.