Scrolling forward 25 years, we have seen a paradigm shift in which databases have substantially disappeared from the scene, spreadsheets are the main way in which data arrive, and we now extract some data direct from posts on Facebook, Flickr, iSpot etc. We mainly communicate via the UK Hoverflies Facebook page and provide more permanent feedback on this blog. The HRS Newsletter continues and does reach some of our traditional recorders who don't 'do' social media. This shift is clearly illustrated in Figure 1, which was prepared by Stuart for his talk to the Huntingdon Flora and Fauna Society last night.
|Figure 1. Sources of data arriving at the HRS, 1991 to 2018.|
Firstly, we became a lot more active running training courses from around 2005 onwards. Initially we were constrained by the need to use venues where people brought their own microscopes or used those 'scopes provided at the venue. This constraint was removed in 2009 when a grant from the OPAL fund allowed us to buy 13 microscopes which we now transport to far-flung venues. So, we would like to think that our efforts to train and enthuse have had some impact.
Around the same time, iSpot and 'Wild About Britain' became available as a way for people to get help with identification of their finds. It encouraged a new photographic recording community and set the scene for much greater inter-active recording. In reality, interactive media have probably played a far bigger role in growing the recorder community, which is most obvious from Figure 2. This graph uses two different metrics to define a new recorder: one based on regular submission of 5 or more records yearly, and the other based on the total number of records submitted, with 250 as the threshold for a 'new' recorder. Both systems tell a similar story, with a clear jump in activity from around 2011 and a further jump around 2014 when the UK Hoverflies Facebook page really became established.
|Figure 2. Metrics for defining 'new recorders'. The upper graph comprises the numbers of recorders in a given year, whilst the lower one illustrates recruitment of major contributors.|
|Figure 3. Numbers of records on the HRS database|