Technical Description of the Designation Reporting in Recorder 6.14



This tutorial is aimed at Intermediate to Advanced level and written for Recorder version 6.14 and above.


1 Introduction

When running reports from biodiversity data there is a strong requirement to include species ‘status’ as a filter. Within this context ‘status’ can have a wide variety of meanings (e.g. legislative, conservation listings, indicators, autecology information etc). Within this tutorial the focus is primarily around legislative and conservation listing but the approach and concepts presented can be applied much more generally to include virtually any sort of species tag.


Within the species dictionary shipped with Recorder, many important statuses have been included, often represented as separate lists (e.g. Red List of Vascular Plants). In some cases this has created problems particularly where older versions of lists are also present within the dictionary but linkage between the separate lists has not been maintained. This can result in, for example, a species having a status on an old list but not being listed on the more recent one (i.e. it is no longer considered at risk) but the status still being applied to the species when used in reports. The problem is further compounded by changes in taxonomy, including where a species concept has been lumped or split. The end result is that it is relatively difficult to automatically extract a current status picture, across a range of taxonomic groups. To address this problem a separate list was created the “JNCC collation of taxon designations” which is provided within the species dictionary. This list aims to:

  • Use a single name for each species (using the currently accepted taxonomy for the group)
  • List all the statuses that are associated with each species. Aspirationally this will also include the statuses that have been associated with a species in the past but the list is currently incomplete in this area at the moment.
  • Maintain and update this list as taxonomy and statuses changed


Within a standard implementation of Recorder this list forms the primary source of designation reporting. However, if required the user themselves can alter this.


This tutorial provides a technical overview of how the designation reporting now works within Recorder. It specifically considers:

  • The structure of the designation index (a table used to drive the designation reporting)
  • How to create additional designations specific to a single Recorder instance (eg. Local statuses)
  • The concept of ‘designation sets’ and how these are held within the database
  • How to create additional sets of designations
  • Description of a function to concatenate designation information, including examples of its use
  • Deleting user added designations and designation sets
  • Technical description of how the taxon designation index is built