One little correction to yesterday's message about GBS

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Subject: One little correction to yesterday's message about GBS
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2012 16:54:41 +1000
This really is old news and probably not very interesting to most, who probably can just delete this, but just for the record so that I am not misunderstood.
Yesterday I wrote: "In the 1980s and early 1990s  ........ summary information was not retained from one year to the next, other than what was printed in the AB. . . Indeed  . . . . for years 3 to 10 . . . running the output routine obliterated the results of the prior year.  
Thinking back, I recall it was more extreme than that. Each species record for each chart was entered as a separate computer file, on a difficult to use system (in QuickBasic code or something like that, which no doubt was clever for its time) in which typing errors could not be fixed but the whole line would need to be deleted and retyped to fix an error. As a consequence, many trivial typing errors were not fixed at the time and indeed at least 3 big errors were not picked till years later. These lines of numbers were unconnected to any other information and did not record the year, the way they identified species was inconsistent over the years and the way they identified site / observer changed every year. When all the data for the year were entered and the weeks used data separately manually counted, the routine to pool all those lines of numbers, calculate and print summary stats was then done, separately for every species. For each species this was run (not each year), the output routine obliterated the results of the prior species. This process took hours. (Maybe that is why the files were not retained.) The little graphs and the summary stats were printed, then all manually typed from that output into a spreadsheet and comparisons made with the prior year and that spreadsheet was printed in the ABR in CBN. In any case, there was no attempt or ability to store or make connections between the data sets over the course of different years or to connect any species data to a site over time.
I care about this because Birds of Canberra Gardens V2 states that a computerised database of GBS Records was started by 1987. This system was not a database.  This is just one small instance among others, written about who did what when, that on the evidence is shown as wrongThe correct history waalready described in The GBS Report.  
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