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  • Page 1 of 28

    Maryland Ornithological Society

    Maryland/District of Columbia Records Committee (MD/DCRC)

    White Paper

    on

    The Evolving Rarity Environment: Documentation, Observers, and Communications

    as of 28 Oct 2014

    by Phil Davis MD/DCRC Secretary

  • Page 2 of 28

    Table of Contents

    Abstract ............................................................................................................................................. 4

    1. Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 5

    1.1 Background ......................................................................................................................................... 5

    1.2 Scope and Definitions ......................................................................................................................... 5

    1.2.1 Scope ........................................................................................................................................... 5

    1.2.2 Definitions ................................................................................................................................... 5

    2. The Maryland/District of Columbia Records Committee (MD/DCRC) ................................................ 6

    2.1 Background ......................................................................................................................................... 6

    2.2 Review Role ........................................................................................................................................ 6

    2.3 Archival Role ....................................................................................................................................... 6

    2.4 Relationships with MDBirding and eBird ............................................................................................ 6

    3. The Evolution of MD/DCRC Rarity Documentation and the Observer Environment .......................... 7

    3.1 MD/DC Baseline (prior to 1958) ......................................................................................................... 7

    3.2 Pre-Records Committee (1958 – early 1980s) .................................................................................... 7

    3.3 The MD/DCRC Era (early 1980s) ......................................................................................................... 8

    3.4 The MD Osprey and Birdchat (BC) Digital Era (~1997-2012) .............................................................. 8

    3.5 The Internet Growth and Photo Gallery Era (~2004 to present)........................................................ 8

    3.6 The MDBirding (Google Group) Era (2012 to present) ....................................................................... 8

    3.7 The eBird Era ([2002-]2012) ............................................................................................................... 8

    3.8 MDBirding Facebook and Other Social Media (~2014 on) ................................................................. 9

    4. MD/DCRC Evolving Documentation and Communications Policies ................................................. 10

    4.1 Observer Documentation Categories and Formats .......................................................................... 10

    4.1.1 Descriptive Documentation Category ....................................................................................... 11

    4.1.2 Non-Descriptive Documentation ............................................................................................... 13

    4.1.3 Published Accounts (Descriptive or Non-descriptive) ............................................................... 13

    4.2 Non-Observer Documentation ......................................................................................................... 13

    4.2.1 Reference Material .................................................................................................................... 13

    4.2.2 Outside Expert Opinions ............................................................................................................ 14

    4.3 Observation, Observer, and Documentation Capture Channel Relationships ................................. 14

    4.3.1 Observation Categories ............................................................................................................. 15

    4.3.2 Observers Categories ................................................................................................................. 16

    4.3.4 Documentation Channel Categories ............................................................................................. 18

    4.3.4.1 Direct Submissions ................................................................................................................. 18

  • Page 3 of 28

    4.3.4.2 Indirect Capture ...................................................................................................................... 18

    5. MD/DCRC Policies ........................................................................................................................ 19

    5.1 Documentation Policies .................................................................................................................... 19

    5.1.1 Documentation Usage Policy ..................................................................................................... 19

    5.1.2 “Complete” Documentation Policy ........................................................................................... 19

    5.1.3 Observer Consent/Permission Policy ........................................................................................ 19

    5.1.4 Photo Publication Policy ............................................................................................................ 20

    5.2 Observer Communications Policies .................................................................................................. 20

    5.2.1 Observer Acknowledgements ................................................................................................... 20

    5.2.2 Observer Decision Notices......................................................................................................... 20

    5.2.3 Observer Privacy ........................................................................................................................ 21

    5.2.4 Hardcopy Communications ....................................................................................................... 21

    5.3 Revised Policy – Long Stayer (LS) Documentation from New Observers ......................................... 21

    5.4 Revised Policy – Short Stayer (SS) Documentation from New Observers ........................................ 22

    6. MD/DCRC Documentation and Communications Procedures ......................................................... 24

    6.1 Observer Procedures ........................................................................................................................ 24

    6.1.1 Observers of Record .................................................................................................................. 24

    6.1.2 Additional Observers ................................................................................................................. 24

    6.2 Document Channel Procedures ........................................................................................................ 24

    6.2.1. Direct Submissions (via US Postal Service) ............................................................................... 24

    6.2.2. Direct Submissions (via email) .................................................................................................. 24

    6.2.3. MDBirding Posts ....................................................................................................................... 25

    6.2.4. eBird Checklist Documentation Procedures ............................................................................. 25

    6.2.5. Web Search Documentation Procedures ................................................................................. 26

    6.3 Observer Communications Procedures ............................................................................................ 26

    6.3.1 Proposes Observer A/V Documentation Acknowledgement Procedures ................................. 26

    6.3.2 Revised Observer Acknowledgement/Decision Notice Communications Process ................... 27

    7. Summary ..................................................................................................................................... 28

    Literature Cited ................................................................................................................................ 28

  • Page 4 of 28

    Abstract This white paper analyzes the Maryland/District of Columbia Records Committee (MD/DCRC, also referred to as “the committee”) past, current, and future management of rare bird documentation. The scope of documentation management activities include how documentation is submitted to, captured by, and then subsequently reviewed and archived by the committee. The primary purpose of this paper is to present to the regional birding community the ra

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