A renaissance of the all round naturalist

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday 7 June 2014 08:37

I am proud to announce the new Pan-species Listing website. About six months ago a conversation began between Mark Telfer and I that led to another between me and Charles Roper. I met up with John van Breda who, among many other thing, created iRecord and gave us direction and of course, a quote! I then formulated a request for funding to David Roy at the Biological Records Centre and I was pleased to find that they saw the value of PSL approach to natural history and provided the funding. Back in April we began constructing the website and slowly added more and more users, testing it out and improving the site all of the time. As with all websites, it's still a work in progress but it's looking pretty good now.

Firstly, it's not a recording platform. It's more of a social network which facilitates recording through a number of neat tools. When you sign up you fill out a profile page and enter a little information about yourself. At this stage you can enter your list as a single number of (preferably) as a taxonomic breakdown. This automatically feeds into the rankings page and is therefore entirely automated. Here are the rankings at the time of writing.

We have added the 'latest addition' section which has proved to be extremely popular, it shows a little of what is about at the moment. Keeping this really up to date is key and I'm pleased to see so many of the top listers doing this, often on a daily basis! I'm giving a few details on where and how I found each species I enter onto the latest addition section and/or the photos I upload so it might help others find the same species.

Another completely new feature is the 'rankings per group' section. Each taxa has its own rankings (all automated) and you can see on this summary page who is the lead for each group and how many species they have seen in that group. Pretty cool hey?

And if you click on one of the taxonomic groups, I've picked arachnids here, you get this screen.

If you click on a person in the rankings, it will take you to their profile page which looks like this.

Another new feature is the location rankings. Like PSL but for a site rather than an individual, so perfect if you want to get into this for recording wildlife in your garden or on your nature reserve.

Another really great feature is the blog, where you can write a blog directly OR add a link to your existing blog.

We have a photos section, the latest uploaded photos being shown on the home page, a calendar of events (this has had a few glitches so needs plenty of events to be entered before we start to see the benefits), a resources page full of keys and useful websites and a forum to discuss all sorts of things and get identification help.

This website will only ever be as good as the material that is entered into it but we want this process to be as smooth as possible so I'm always happy to receive improvements and tweaks and hear about glitches. So, please have a look and see if this is for you. An explanation on the about page will tell you all about PSL in more detail if you need it. I believe this is the start of a 'renaissance of the all round naturalist', so if you are keen on wildlife recording and have a liking for lists, can you afford not to get into PSL?! Now sign up, get off your computer and record some wildlife so you can update your rankings!

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