The Data Committee is chaired by Paul Cannon, and is responsible for a wide range of technical developments in the society and also our involvement in related projects beyond. There are several strands to our work:
- The BLS database, which now holds more than 2.4 million records of lichens and lichenicolous fungi. Until recently this was the main focus of our work, and we are still adding to it. We use it for research and to provide up to date information to local recorders and anyone else who needs it, including site species lists, records, distribution maps and hotspot maps. Our data is also available on the NBN Atlas and GBIF, but we don’t have the resources to update these as often as we would like. Associated with the database we have also developed record verification rulesets for the NBN Record Cleaner and for iRecord, and we are now turning our attention to online recording, verification and database access.
- The lichen taxon dictionary is fundamental to the database and mapping, and the latest version of the taxon dictionary is always available on the BLS website. Updates are passed on to the UK Species Inventory for use in databases worldwide.
- Other projects over the last few years have included the development of computerised keys, and we have been experimenting with smartphone apps.
- Last, but by no means least, the development of the new edition of the Lichens of Great Britain and Ireland is also overseen by the data committee.