Frequently asked questions

The error messages from the data formatting checker can be a bit terse, so here are some common questions.

Taxa worksheet

XXX found in GBIF backbone, but additional parent information is incompatible

You only have to provide parent information when GBIF can't find the taxon itself. If you do provide parent information for a taxon that is in GBIF, then we check the two are compatible. This isn't usually a problem but it can go wrong if the taxon is considered a synonym.

For example, the fish species Barbodes sealei is considered by GBIF to be a synonym for Puntius sealei, and the taxonomic hierarchy we get from GBIF is that the species is in the genus Puntius. So, if you put Barbodes as the parent genus, you will get an error because Barbodes is not in that taxonomic hierarchy. We do not take a view on whether GBIF is correct - we record both synonyms and canon names in the taxon index for the dataset.

The solution is to remove the Parent information - you would then get a warning about the synonymy but no error.

Data worksheets

Cannot parse data: field_name row not found

Did you include the Locations and Taxa worksheets in your data worksheets list? Don't - we automatically check for these two sheets and they have a different format to data worksheets, so you will get this error when the checker code tries to read field descriptions and fails.