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Keys to a successful project: Associated data and planning: Data standards

By:
Edited by:
W. Ronald Heyer, Maureen A. Donnelly, Roy W. McDiarmid, Lee-Ann C. Hayek, and Mercedes S. Foster

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Abstract

The many individual salamanders, frogs, caecilians, and their larvae encountered during the course of an inventory or monitoring project will have to be identified to species. Depending on the goals and sampling method(s) used, some individuals will be identified from a distance by their calls, others will be handled. At the same time, some will be marked for recapture, and others will be sampled as vouchers. For each, certain minimum data should be recorded. In this section, data pertaining to locality and sampling methodology are considered, information on microhabitats and specimen vouchers is covered in sections that follow. I feel strongly that the data outlined here should be the minimum for any project. Investigators with specific goals may require additional types of data as well.

Standardized, printed sheets containing the required data categories provide a convenient, inexpensive, and effective way to ensure that all the desired information is recorded in a consistent format, Data sheets should be well organized, printed on good-quality paper (75%-100% cotton content) and include extra space (e.g., other side of sheet) for notes that do not fit preestablished categories

Data should be recorded in the field with permanent (waterproof) ink as simply and directly as possible. I strongly recommend against the use of data codes in the field; it is too easy to forget codes or to enter the wrong code. Original data sheets can be photocopied for security, but they should not be copied by hand. If data are to be coded for computer analysis, the original or photocopied sheets should be used for data entry to minimize transcription errors. Some workers prefer recording information on small tape recorders; this also works well if a list of the standard data categories is checked during taping to ensure that all required information is recorded. Information recorded on tapes should be transcribed to data sheets or into a computer within 24 hours of the sample.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Book chapter
Publication Subtype:
Book Chapter
Title:
Keys to a successful project: Associated data and planning: Data standards
Chapter:
5
Year Published:
1994
Language:
English
Publisher:
Smithsonian Books
Publisher location:
Washington, DC
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
4 p.
Larger Work Type:
Book
Larger Work Subtype:
Handbook
Larger Work Title:
Measuring and monitoring biological diversity: Standard methods for amphibians
First page:
57
Last page:
60
Public Comments:
This is a section within Chapter 5 of the book Measuring and monitoring biological diversity: Standard methods for amphibians