Failing to record finds on PAS.

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Easylife
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Pete E wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 11:00 am Does anybody know if the post of FLO is a dedicated job role, or do they usually have other duties?
Well I just get an automated email reply saying that my FLO is extremely busy! :?
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Pete E
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Easylife wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:36 pm Does anybody know if the post of FLO is a dedic
Well I just get an automated email reply saying that my FLO is extremely busy! :?
Having listened to a talk given by couple of FLO' s and a Historian/Researcher, I get the sense that Academia has a different perception of the terms "efficient" and "busy" to what the rest of us have...
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Oxgirl
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I think there are a few main reasons - one is getting to the FLO. If you work full time and aren’t a club member it means a day off work. And another to pick them up.

Some think there finds aren’t good enough. Others don’t find anything good. Some don’t know about the Portable Antiquities scheme or are shy contacting the FLO (who are often rubbish at sharing info in their finds days).

Some don’t think it’s important, or only important if its treasure. Some believe it’ll attract nighthawks or it’ll get the field scheduled.

However there are lots who do record, and record a lot, so it ain’t all bad! For the rest education and better communication would help.

However a lack of funds does mean many FLOs are at full capacity already so would getting more who wanted to record help getting more recorded? I doubt it.

Which brings me to my final point on the selectiveness of FLOs on what they’ll record. What is not commonly known is the FLOs work for the local museum unit, not the British Museum, so they are primarily directed on what to record by local priorities. So whilst PAS sets the headline criteria (pre 1650, etc.) it’s local priorities that set the selection in the finds presented. In my experience with Oxfordshire PAS they record all medieval and earlier coins, and any decent older silver or gold coin pre 1700. They record good or unusual examples of artefacts up to 1700 but are very selective! When I brought six months worth of finds in January to the new Oxfordshire FLO he was saying yes to everything then realised he had 60 things to record so had to go through again and rejected another 15. As he said he’d have recorded probably 80 (of the 100 ish items I’d brought in) in his old county, cause the finds level there is much lower. Within 3 months of starting he already had a backlog of finds.

They need more FLOs, more self recorders or more volunteers if recording levels are to increase. Or they could dumb down the records, which would be a real shame :(
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Easylife
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Oxgirl wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:04 pm Which brings me to my final point on the selectiveness of FLOs on what they’ll record.
Sometimes if a FLO is unfamiliar with an unusual find they may just take a guess and initially reject it. But if you have already done your research and can tell them what it actually is and how old then they will take it. I have found a few unusual items that there do not appear to be any records of anything quite similar and the British Museum has requested to see them in the flesh, which is great as I end up with about the best ID available and their reasoning for it. :thumbsup:
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My previous FLO would not record anything less than 300 years old, and for some would not do photos, I sent images via Dropbox and provided a link and he then added them before I self recorded.
Now I self record anything newer, within in reason, also I upload images of high quality with my record.

My current FLO does not get the best images with the records for items people bring in, or a volunteer does them for items submitted, they are terrible.

So for those that don’t self record and you images are good might be worth asking your FLO about providing images.

Anything we can do will lighten the load on the FLO

Regards Steve
A foolish faith in authority, is the worst enemy of truth." Albert Einstein
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The main issue with the PAS lies in the fact that it is a resource limited scheme. When it began there was little actual understanding of the number of finds that could be made available for recording and as a recorder from virtually day one i quickly saw the system become overloaded. It has remained the case to date and is unlikely to change so the PAS and the FLO's can only ever hope to record a certain number of finds per year.

Hence many detectorists have little hope of recording more than a token number of finds so the detractors bleats come thick and fast that detectorists dont record their finds. Well if the system was perfect an awful lot more could be , but the restrictions on what can be recorded and how many can be taken in for recording at any one time quickly erode users confidence in the scheme.

I put eight finds in for recording in early March and that is the last i have seen or heard of them. The FLO cannot be contacted and in the meantime there are two landowners wondering where their finds are. Covid has had an effect ,but it has been the final straw for much recording and it remains to be seen how the PAS will fare in the coming Comprehensive Spending Review.

Some are already writing its obituary.
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On another forum not so far away, an ex FLO posted how difficult the job had been and that it had taken a toll on his personal life.

An idea for the forum or the new YT channel. How about an interview with an FLO - a warts and all look at the job.

I have to say my FLO (Dr. Simon Maslin - Surrey) is first class. I drop him an email with pictures and questions. He replies usually within 48 hrs. If he wants to record the item he tells me what he needs (size, weight, information etc.). I can provide acceptable pictures and he does the rest.
Just looked back on my last email to him. I sent it on Sat. Aug 1st at 18.54. He replied Sunday 2nd at 07.05 Can't ask for more than that.
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DaveP wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:02 pm On another forum not so far away, an ex FLO posted how difficult the job had been and that it had taken a toll on his personal life.

An idea for the forum or the new YT channel. How about an interview with an FLO - a warts and all look at the job.

I have to say my FLO (Dr. Simon Maslin - Surrey) is first class. I drop him an email with pictures and questions. He replies usually within 48 hrs. If he wants to record the item he tells me what he needs (size, weight, information etc.). I can provide acceptable pictures and he does the rest.
Just looked back on my last email to him. I sent it on Sat. Aug 1st at 18.54. He replied Sunday 2nd at 07.05 Can't ask for more than that.
Dealt with Simon for my last PAS recorded find, as he had recorded similar. Exactly as you stated, used my photos, measurements , etc, record was on the site within 24hrs and saved me 2 x 80 mile round trips. Very efficient.
Cheers, :thumbsup:
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DaveP wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:02 pm On another forum not so far away, an ex FLO posted how difficult the job had been and that it had taken a toll on his personal life.

An idea for the forum or the new YT channel. How about an interview with an FLO - a warts and all look at the job.

I have to say my FLO (Dr. Simon Maslin - Surrey) is first class. I drop him an email with pictures and questions. He replies usually within 48 hrs. If he wants to record the item he tells me what he needs (size, weight, information etc.). I can provide acceptable pictures and he does the rest.
Just looked back on my last email to him. I sent it on Sat. Aug 1st at 18.54. He replied Sunday 2nd at 07.05 Can't ask for more than that.
Just curious, but could post an example of the acceptable pictures you supplied for one of your finds? I only ask as I wonder what is deemed as "acceptable" also how many views and the use of a scales ect..
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Oxgirl wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:04 pm I think there are a few main reasons - one is getting to the FLO. If you work full time and aren’t a club member it means a day off work. And another to pick them up.
I am in the north of Gloucestershire, my FLO is in Bristol ..... AA routeplanner says 58 miles and 1hr 10mins each way .... far from ideal.
Certainly something that I am not prepared to do (why should I spend 4hrs 40, assuming M5 is clear with no roadworks - which is highly unlikely, and drive 232 miles to deliver an item and then to collect it months after?).

In fairness you can arrange to see him at Gloucester when he is there, but that is still about 40 minutes each way so not ideal, and as Oxgirl says would mean taking time off work for most people.

He also tries to make the occasional visit to the Chelteham club (even that is 30 mins each way for me), but obviously like other "traditional clubs" we have had no meetings since February. But even when meetings are being held this means delays from a find being made until he attends a meeting then a long wait until he attends another meeting to get it back.

I will emphasise that none of this is a criticism of the FLO, but of the system.

It needs some simple way to get all the required information, including photos, to the FLO in a standard format so that the bulk of the work is done and he can just validate the data and then do the analysis on it.

Evan
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Pete E wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:53 pm Just curious, but could post an example of the acceptable pictures you supplied for one of your finds? I only ask as I wonder what is deemed as "acceptable" also how many views and the use of a scales ect..
Pete you can find some great guides written by the Finds Liaison Officers on all aspects of recording items for PAS. If you go here you’ll see them all, including photographing items.
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Just a thought that there are more clubs than flos could it not be possible to have a club member to record all finds of the club we do this at taynton club for are own records Then format them for the flo to record onto the pas you would like to think there would be some volunteers to help share the work most clubs in Gloucester get a visit from the flo at club meetings to update us and judge club finds then we all want to show him something for a ID or two the more we can do to help the better surely :thumbsup:
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Pete E wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:53 pm
Just curious, but could post an example of the acceptable pictures you supplied for one of your finds? I only ask as I wonder what is deemed as "acceptable" also how many views and the use of a scales ect..
Attached are examples of pictures I sent to the FLO and what appeared on the PAS. You'll see he has changed the images and scale for the record.
Screen Shot 2019-10-20 at 16.52.19.png
Core 1.jpg
Attachments
Core 2.jpg
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DaveP wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:44 pm Attached are examples of pictures I sent to the FLO and what appeared on the PAS. You'll see he has changed the images and scale for the record.Screen Shot 2019-10-20 at 16.52.19.pngCore 1.jpg
Thanks for that Dave,

I have say I am not that impressed with the way the FLO's typically photoshop the images for publication, nor the "style" that presumably has been mandated by the BM...
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Pete E wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:28 pm
I have say I am not that impressed with the way the FLO's typically photoshop the images for publication, nor the "style" that presumably has been mandated by the BM...
I'm inclined to agree but I think they are trying to strike a balance of recording vs. very high quality. At least the item was recorded, along with its other details (weight, location and ID) so it's now there for all to see and research.

The information I sent (weight, location etc.) was spot on but the pictures I sent are distinctly average. If he has to start with average then it won't get any better. You only have to look on other forums at the quality of some pictures, lack of scale etc. even for flat coins so you can imagine what will happen with more three dimensional objects.

I agree the end result isn't ideal but it may be ideal for the purpose. And, I could do it all from my desk and still have the item at home to show friends.

Chris (aka Dave)
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