In this section:


Butterfly Conservation has the long-term vision that all records managed locally on our behalf are stored in the same system, and Indicia the database that interacts with iRecord is our system of preference. A number of County Recorders are already adopting this approach. However, we recognise that many of you have your own systems and often a proportion of records need to remain non-public. We continue to support different options for data storage and sharing.

County Recorders are responsible for accepting records, verifying and validating them and then merging the data into formats for storage and onward sharing to third parties including Butterfly Conservation’s UK Schemes; National Moth Recording Scheme and Butterflies for the New Millennium.

In this section we cover management of the local database including type of software and importing and exporting data. See section 10 for more guidance and resources regarding sharing of data from the local database with the UK recording schemes and others.

Storage systems and software

There are various options for County Recorders to store their records, the most popular are currently MapMate and Excel spreadsheets. Please note, Excel is not a database.

Currently within the network, databases in use locally include MapMate, Levana, Access, Recorder 6 and Indicia (iRecord). Each system has strengths and weaknesses. Your choice of database will depend on which organisation you collate on behalf of, please speak to your key contact, and what you may inherit from the predecessor in your county.

Some County Recorders use spreadsheets rather than a relational database, however we would discourage this due to the more limited functionality and higher risk of errors.

Using Indicia (iRecord) as your database

Butterfly Conservation have been working with UKCEH and the Biological Record Centre, as part of the Supporting Science project, to enhance iRecord to enable storage of local datasets in a non-shared area of Indicia database. We’re continuing work on this with a view to rolling out the capability to all County Recorders. If you wish to use iRecord to store your data you can already do so with data that have permission to be made public – please see guidance below and get in touch for help and support.

With UKCEH, we developed infrastructure for your non-public records to be stored alongside your public records in iRecord i.e. you would not need another database. The driver for this is wanting to make a long-term, secure database solution available for County Recorders that has the best possible interoperability with data entry systems and verification tools. We are now ready to move onto the testing, procedural and guidance implications for this with a view to making this . We’d be interested to hear from you if you’d like to test out new functionality in this area. Please get in touch at @email and you can help us to develop and roll out this option. Once the functionality is available to all, future guidance will appear in this toolkit.

It is already possible to use the Activities function in iRecord to upload, enter and store public facing records (with recorders’ permission). Activities enable County Recorders to keep all relevant records in one place allowing the display of data in map and table form. More information can be found here.

Importing data to Indicia (iRecord)

A variety of spreadsheet formats can be imported in to iRecord should you chose to store your records in this system. Prior to doing so you must be sure you have permission to do this from the recorders, who maintain copyright of their records, as the records are publicly viewable to system users. If you don’t already have permission, you must ask for the recorders’ permission to do this. Please discuss with your volunteer key contact.

To avoid duplication, please also check that any records you are uploading to iRecord on behalf of recorders have not been entered into iRecord by the recorder themselves already. Guidance on importing spreadsheets in to iRecord can be found here. We strongly recommend that you refer to the full PDF guidance rather than going straight for the template.

We also recommend running the spreadsheets through the relevant Validator spreadsheet (see Section 6: Verification tools) prior to importing to iRecord. This will highlight any errors in the data and will reformat the data to an iRecord compatible format.

Exporting data from iRecord

Records stored and entered into iRecord can be downloaded for reporting, sharing, and local storage should you wish to store them locally in a different database. There are two download options:

  1. Simple download
  2. Standard download

The simple download contains fewer columns than the standard download. Guidance on downloading records from iRecord can be found here.

Please note that downloads include any ‘sensitive’ records with their public resolution, which includes a blurred grid reference and no site name.

GDPR Compliance

The UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect on 25th May 2018. The UK GDPR is UK law and covers any person or organisation that gathers, holds and uses personal data. The names of recorders and any details about their address, postcode etc. included in butterfly and moth records are personal data under the GDPR. Put simply, personal data is anything that allows an individual to be identified. Therefore due to handling recorders’ data, all County Recorders are subject to the legal responsibilities of the UK GDPR.

Butterfly Conservation will provide you with GDPR training (please access training course via Assemble, and read this guidance) for because you volunteer for us to verify and share Butterfly Conservation records (County Recorder (Verification) role) and you may also volunteer for us to collate and manage the local database of records (County Recorder (database management) role). Both roles process personal data.. Some of you collate and manage the local database and share records for other organisations and you will need to adhere to that organisations GDPR guidance, and the privacy notices associated with incoming data for their purposes, as they will be data controller for that database in GDPR terms.

You must follow the GDPR guidelines and training we provide regarding your handling of Butterfly Conservation biological records at all times. Any doubts or concerns in this area, please get in touch at @email.

If you become aware of a data breach involving Butterfly Conservation records (i.e. leaking of personal data where it isn’t permitted) or if you receive a request from a recorder to carry out their rights under GDPR, please get in touch without delay with the details to @email and cc @email. As data controller, we will provide advice on how to respond.


County Recorders who are responsible for the database management aspect of the role for Butterfly Conservation are provided with role requirements in the role description. Database management also needs to be carried out in accordance with Butterfly Conservations GDPR provisions.

As part of this role the database needs to be held securely, including, keeping anti-virus and malware software up to date, having a firewall, ensuring your personal computer (PC) is password or PIN protected, and regularly backing up the database offline or with a third party. Please ask for support with any of these matters as required when you set up or maintain your system.

Recorder addresses (if entered within a record), and duplicate records should be regularly checked for and removed. In addition to this, Butterfly Conservation database managers may also need to follow up on GDPR related requests via the Butterfly Conservation staff team, for example, requests from recorders to remove information and or records.


Butterfly Conservation recommend that data are stored in iRecord as it is a secure platform for data storage, provides a backup for data, and is GDPR compliant. Other established systems are available, and we will continue to support these. Data should be stored and processed in line with GDPR compliance, training will be provided. PC’s that hold moth and butterfly records need to have up to date anti-virus software and should be backed up regularly.