Mike a typical data flow might be:
1. A local recorder sends data to their local group or LRC, often with the LRC helping to facilitate this process
2. A local group sends its data to the LRC, often with the LRC helping to facilitate this process
3. LRC exchanges data with National Schemes and Societies and NBN Gateway
The NBN Gateway is *one* distribution mechanism, depending on requirements. It typically holds a more "low-fi" version of the data and acts as a signposting mechanism to the data custodians who should be able to provide complete versions of the data. Local Record Centres are an ideal place to send records to because they are typically resourced to gather, clean, collate and distribute data, which is no small or easy task. National Schemes and Societies can also often accept data directly, depending on resources. As a local recorder or group, it's also good to be able to visit your LRC and get to know the people working there and strike up a relationship. LRCs can then, at the request of the data provider (i.e., the local group or local recorder), send clean and hopefully verified data on to National Schemes and or provision the data via the NBN Gateway.
Use of Recorder in all this helps because it uses NBN keys, the closest thing we have to the barcodes you mention. Every copy of Recorder goes out with a unique prefix code called the Site ID. The NBN Gateway uses a stripped down version of the NBN Data Model, which also uses NBN keys. Increasing numbers of National Schemes and Societies use Recorder. MapMate does not use NBN keys but does use a similar unique ID system which can be converted to NBN keys (but it's tricky to convert NBN keys to MapMate). If you're not using Recorder, I think you can apply to JNCC for a Site ID code, which makes it possible to create your own unique keys.
Digital Development Manager | Field Studies Council
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