Julie Cox, GiGL Data Officer
Have you ever wondered what the GiGL team actually do day-to-day? In this issue of the GiGLer, we take you into the inner workings of GiGL, the everyday and the experimental, the daily tasks and the ever-present questions.
While Maria, one of GiGL’s Records Officers, may spend her morning completing data search reports for customers and partners, Data Officers Chloë and Julie, and Operations Manager, Matt, will most likely be responding to partner queries, working on partner projects or carrying out important maintenance of GiGL’s core datasets and systems. Existing partners often come in to discuss specific projects while new and prospective partners come in for a GiGL introduction meeting. At one recent meeting with the London Wildlife Crime Unit we discussed how we can work together to tackle wildlife crime and encourage its reporting.
After lunch, the team might spend some time providing data and data products to students, researchers or members of the public. One such student, Andrea Albergoni, recently got in touch to request data to inform a study on an invasive species. His project demonstrates the mutually beneficial nature of our work with students; he received baseline data to inform his study and GiGL received his survey data to enhance our dataset.
While we’re on the subject of invasive species, you may know that GiGL host the London Invasive Species Initiative Manager, Karen Harper. This arrangement makes perfect sense as accurate data is paramount to tackling non-native invasive species in the capital. While we’re working away in the office, Karen may be out on site advising contractors, or she may be indoors with us, advising land mangers on how best to tackle invasives – including how to identify and manage them in winter.
On occasion, when space allows, we play host to students looking for a first introduction into the work of a local records centre. Over the summer we were joined by work experience student, Cordelia Webb, who discovered for herself how ongoing recording is key to the success of a local records centre.
An important aspect of our ongoing daily life is working with recorders, whether inputting and providing data for personal use or for atlases, working to verify records with species experts or working with organisations such as the Field Studies Council to actively support biological recording.
Of course, much of our Records Officers, Maria and Lyndsey’s time, is taken inputting records supplied to us. These may be from GiGL partners, customers such as ecological consultants, recording groups or single recorders, or they may be from the general public. One way the public provides records is through online species recording forms we host on our website on behalf of our partners. This aspect of GiGL’s work has been ongoing from our inception, although the methods we use have changed massively over time.
Underpinning everything GiGL does is a plethora of policies, guides and handbooks that have to be kept up to date and relevant. Ensuring all our service users are aware of and understand these is essential to the smooth running of all our projects and an essential part of Mandy’s role as CEO. The GiGL CIC has a board of seven excellent Directors who help Mandy in the running of the company. Mandy is in frequent contact with the Directors, and we want GiGLer readers to get to know them too. To this end, we are introducing a new feature to the GiGLer; a Director interview. First up is our Chair – Valerie Selby.