RAUK - Archived Forum - online record submission form - feedback

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online record submission form - feedback:

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GemmaJF
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Posted: 27 Feb 2005

Hi all,

I've been working on an online submission form for herpetofauna records for the Kent Reptile & Amphibian Group. I have a working example at:

http://www.kentarg.org/record_submission_form.htm

I would welcome any feedback regarding the form. There are some very obvious omissions such as air temperature, precipitation etc. but I was aiming for something that could be used both by the general public and experienced recorders. Met info can always be added in the further comments box.

Currently the form generates html formatted emails with each category and response listed in a clear format, most unlike the

speak=adder+soup&gibberishspotted=on&submit1=submit+query

rubbish that web forms often generate!

Any comments about additions omissions very welcome, the next stage of development will be adding a facility to upload images and send them as email file attachments... after 3 days of keyboard bashing I now know 'how' to achieve this but it will take re-writing all the scripts :0(

Any way on a positive note, just think of the potential of the fully developed form to county recorders and arg's. Not only could it be used on individual county web sites, but it could also be developed to send records via email to the relevant county recorder or arg from a single source (like RAUK for example).. perhaps if there is enough motivation out there this project might attract a few donations to move RAUK to an SQL server in time???

Any comments or interest in developing this project let me know.

Thanks,


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
herpetologic2
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Joined: 15 Jun 2004
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Posted: 27 Feb 2005

 

I feel that an embroyic online NARRS system developing here - the Essex Field Club have online forms and they generate lots of records from Essex, Around the UK and the World!

So I would encourage this to the max!

JC 


Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
herpetologic2
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Joined: 15 Jun 2004
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View other posts by herpetologic2
Posted: 27 Feb 2005

 

I have just seen the recording form - looks good - I would like to know if this could be developed as a National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme - hey that sounds like NARRS - I feel that this would be an excellent project - how about it?

The HGBI can be involved - errrr linked with the RAUK Forum - with our coordinator Gemma Fairchild!

well done Gem

JC

PS Sorry for getting excited - but this is just what the UK Herp conservation movement needs!


Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
calumma
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Joined: 27 Jun 2003
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Posted: 27 Feb 2005
Gemma,

Actually that looks pretty good as it stands!

Some comments.

It may be better to have a blank first entry for species and lifestage. Otherwise, folks may accidently send a form of a grass snake adult. The pop up could read 'select from list' or something.

Is it possible to have 'other' as a category. That way people can add more information about unidentified observations (e.g. unknown snake, bullfrog, other escapee etc), without being too constrained by the choices on offer. Could it work that if 'other' is selected a selection appears that asks the user to type the name? I've seen this sort of thing in other online forms, but imagine it is horrible to code. Perhaps, there could just be an empty field for folks to fill in if none of the observations apply??

Look forward to this going live!

Lee Brady
Kent Herpetofauna Recorder | Independent Ecological Consultant

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GemmaJF
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Joined: 25 Jan 2003
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Posted: 27 Feb 2005

It is live! Being very impatient it is already accessible and functioning on the KRAG site..

Thanks for the suggestions, changes and additions to the form categories are straightforward at the moment, it is when I re-code the whole form to upload pictures so that they can be attached to emails, that things will be a bit hairy, hence why I would like to work on refining the basic form at this stage.

administrator38410.6773726852
Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
GemmaJF
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Joined: 25 Jan 2003
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Posted: 27 Feb 2005

I've implemented Lee's suggestions,

Below is the contents of an email generated from the form to give an idea of how effective it is..

Record Sent from KRAG Web Site



Species: unknown

Non listed species: looked a bit like a tortoise

Lifestage: Adult

Male:

Female:

Unknown: 1

Date: 04 08 2005

Time: 14 53

Town: Mundon

Site: My Garden

Grid reference: _ _ 00000 00000

Post Code: CM9 6PB

Method: Visual

Name: Gemma Fairchild

Address: -
My House
In My Street
My Town
CM9 6PB

Telephone: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

E-mail: gemma@herpetofauna.co.uk

Contact: yes

Comments: -
This is a silly test email to show how records generated by the online form are displayed in emails.


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
calumma
Senior Member
Joined: 27 Jun 2003
No. of posts: 351


View other posts by calumma
Posted: 28 Feb 2005
Gemma,

The site is really looking very good!

One or two more suggestions:

Is it possible to also provide a link directly to the pdf versions of the recording cards. Some people may not want to enter their details on a website, but would be willing to download a recording card and send it in.

Also, this type of online submission form is great for the odd record, but can be very cumbersome for folk who want to send in a whole list of observations. Could you therefore also provide a direct download link to a spreadsheet document that people can fill in and email back. The spreadsheet would consist of the same fields as the online version. Ideally the spreadsheet would be application independent, perhaps saved as a tab delineated text file? That way people will not be forced to use Excel (or any other program that they may not have).


Lee Brady
Kent Herpetofauna Recorder | Independent Ecological Consultant

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GemmaJF
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Posted: 01 Mar 2005

Just to say a big

THANKS!

to Mike Phillips at Kent BTCV for starting the ball rolling with KRAG's first record generated from our new form!


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
calumma
Senior Member
Joined: 27 Jun 2003
No. of posts: 351


View other posts by calumma
Posted: 01 Mar 2005
Gemma,

One further addition that would be useful is 'County'. I know the site is aimed at folks based in Kent. However, you are likely to attract a number of records from other people who come across the form. Not everyone will type in a grid ref or postcode.
Lee Brady
Kent Herpetofauna Recorder | Independent Ecological Consultant

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GemmaJF
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Joined: 25 Jan 2003
No. of posts: 2090


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Posted: 01 Mar 2005

hmmm I think that could be slipped in, so it reads site name, nearest town or village, county, grid ref etc. under 'where'. I have added the grids for the rest of the UK (I hope) if I've missed any please let me know people!


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
GemmaJF
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Joined: 25 Jan 2003
No. of posts: 2090


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Posted: 02 Mar 2005

Further development of the form is carrying on with a picture upload version that is un-viewable due to it being a little 'raw' for web users!

I could do with some help though, the kentarg.org service provider has an acceptable use policy restricting the upload of certain media files to its servers.. penalty loss of the account, however it isn't at all specific as to which extensions it actually disallows, hence I have to code for safe allowable file extensions and block everything else.

I need to let the form know acceptable extensions, so far the following extensions are enabled

JPG, JPEG, JPE, PNG, TIF, TIFF, GIF, BMP, RLE, PICT, TXT, DOC, XLS

Any other suggestions for picture file extensions (not media clips though) and acceptable files appreciated.

 

Many thanks

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Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
herpetologic2
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Joined: 15 Jun 2004
No. of posts: 1369


View other posts by herpetologic2
Posted: 02 Mar 2005

 

I would get onto HCT about this form lets get NARRS off the ground and into cyber space!

Jon


Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
David Bird
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Joined: 17 Feb 2003
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Posted: 02 Mar 2005
Just seen the form and it is very good, I know if you have too many areas to fill in it does put people off from replying but would a question about the Weather be useful with a note that this is not neccessary to fill in if it was not recorded but may be useful.

David
British Herpetological Society Librarian and member of B.H.S Conservation Committee. Self employed Herpetological Consultant and Field Worker.
GemmaJF
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Joined: 25 Jan 2003
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Posted: 02 Mar 2005

I've implemented David's suggestion at:

http://www.kentarg.org/record_submission_form_metdata_v01.htm

As I've said I won't be updating the live form until I implement the file upload facility, but there is a new section 'Weather?' on this non-active form, comments about format for met data or additions again very welcome.

Thanks to everyone who has given input so far.


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
Mike
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Joined: 15 Feb 2003
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Posted: 03 Mar 2005
I presume the hoster is Dziner Solutions, if they don't publish an acceptable usage policy how are you supposed to keep to one?, I couln't find a policy on their web site.

As for 'acceptable' files, doc & xls can carry macro viruses. You may want to add rtf (Word rich text format) to the list.Mike38414.5745949074
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GemmaJF
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Joined: 25 Jan 2003
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Posted: 03 Mar 2005

Hi Mike,

they send the policy when you open the account, it basicly states (not a direct quote) that sound and other media files are not allowed. As it is a shared host I think they are trying to avoid people uploading MP3 and film clips that could slow the server down.

I think we will have to allow .doc and .xls for functionality though I realise there are possible problems.

One way I can get around the whole problem is to upload the files to memory and simply not write them to disk as I'm only capturing to attach them to emails. Though at the moment I would like the facility to save allowable files to disk at the same time.


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant

- online record submission form - feedback

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