Metadata and Occurrence Records

In order to share your species occurrence records with the NBN Atlas we need two files:

  1. the metadata for your dataset
  2. the occurrence records.

1. Metadata

Metadata describes who collected it, why it was collected, how it can be used and the methods used to collect it.  It is important as it provides the information a user needs to assess whether the data are fit for their intended use.  This metadata is available to all NBN Atlas users when they view the data resource page.

We have a template and user guide for providing metadata:

NBN Atlas Metadata Form (csv)

Guide to NBN Atlas Metadata Form (pdf)

2. Species occurrence records

Occurrence records in the NBN Atlas use the data standard Darwin Core. By using this standard, we can help to make sure that the UK’s biodiversity data holdings are interoperable with those of other countries, and it allows an easier export of NBN Atlas data to GBIF. Read more about sharing your data with GBIF.

The NBN Atlas does not have access controls, which means that the public resolution of the records is as supplied by the data provider.

We have a template and user guide for providing occurrence records in Darwin Core format:

NBN Atlas Occurrence Record Upload Template (csv)

NBN Atlas Occurrence Record Upload Guide (pdf and html)

In the template and guide we have included all the fields that are required for data submission and some of the more commonly used fields in NBN Atlas datasets that are not required. The advantage of using the Darwin Core standard is that we are not restricted to the set of fields in the template: data providers can include any Darwin Core term in their dataset. You can read the reference guide for the Darwin Core terms.

Please email data@nbnatlas.org if you have any questions regarding submitting records or the use of Darwin Core terms.

Data licence and rightsholder

All records require a data licence and a rightsholder. Details of the available licences can be found on the data licence page. The rightsholder is the person or organisation that holds the rights over the record. Generally it is either the recorder or the organisation that they represent.

Species Dictionary (UK Species Inventory)

The NBN Atlas uses the UK Species Inventory (UKSI) for the species dictionary. It is possible to only include the scientific or vernacular name of the species in the occurrence record, but it is very helpful if the Taxon Version Key (TVK), provided by the UKSI, is supplied as well.  The Natural History Museum in London offers two methods to match species name to a TVK: You can download a simplified version of the UKSI to import species names into your database or use the online UKSI TVK matching tool. Please email data@nbn.org if you need help matching TVKs.

Note: the TVK supplied must be for the scientific name. If the TVK is for the English name the NBN Atlas will not match the name.

Verification status terms

Records submitted to the NBN Atlas require the identification verification status of the record. Verification status is based on the iRecord verification scheme, where records are either Accepted or Unconfirmed. Read more about the full verification status terms.

Darwin Core Archives

Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) is a biodiversity informatics data standard that makes use of the Darwin Core terms to produce a single, self-contained dataset for species occurrence or taxonomic data. A DwC-A is essentially a zip file containing a file describing the data (metadata) and a second file containing the data.

If a data partner is able to create a DwC-A, then this is the ideal way to send data to the NBN Atlas, however, we appreciate that not all of our data partners have the technical resource to be able to create these documents.

GBIF provides guidance and validators for DwC-A and a useful how to guide.

NBN Data Exchange format

The NBN will continue to accept records in the old NBN Data Exchange format. Any data supplied to us in this format will be mapped to Darwin Core, by the NBN, before importing into the NBN Atlas.