Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sharing Checklists

EBird now allows checklist sharing, so that multiple users can submit sightings to the same checklist when they bird together.

Checklist sharing makes it possible to copy an eBird checklist to another user's account. Each user can edit the checklist to more closely match the species he or she saw that day. This allows multiple copies of the same checklist to be associated with a single birding event and ensures that we do not create unnecessary duplicates for our scientific analyses. At the same time, this gives our users the flexibility to make sure that their personal records are accurate. We are excited about this release for several reasons: 1) it will make data entry easier for eBirders that bird in groups; 2) it allow us to more accurately describe your group birding events; and 3) it provides an easy way to introduce people to eBird.

When birding as part of a group, we consider there to be two types of checklists: a Group Checklist and an Individual Checklist. A Group Checklist is the summation of the highest counts of each species seen by the group. Thus, if one person in the group sees 8 Painted Redstarts and 2 Red-faced Warblers, but the rest of the group saw 6 Painted Redstarts and 3 Red-faced Warblers, then the Group Checklist would show 8 Painted Redstarts and 3 Red-faced Warblers. When a shared eBird checklist is accepted by another member of the group, a unique Individual Checklist is created which can then be edited. In addition, a Group Checklist is automatically created that is a summary of reports by all members of the group, taking the highest value for each species from each checklist. Although each user's Individual Checklist will remain unique within his or her personal account, the Group Checklist that eBird uses for output (maps, graphs, bar charts) will be a combined checklist for all individuals.
The link has directions for how to do this.