Distributed biodiversity information databases
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Distributed Biodiversity Information Databases. A. Townsend Peterson. Paris Museum. British Museum. Field Museum. KU Museum. “World Museum”. Fish University of Florida. Fish Tulane University. Fish University of Michigan. Fish “World Museum ”. Making Simple Databases BETTER.

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Distributed biodiversity information databases


University of Florida

Distributed biodiversity information databases


Tulane University

Distributed biodiversity information databases


University of Michigan

Distributed biodiversity information databases


“World Museum”

Making simple databases better
Making Simple Databases BETTER

  • Georeferencing

  • Standardization of taxonomy

  • Error-detection and cleaning

  • Integration with the ‘World Museum’

Data sharing issues of importance
Data Sharing - Issues of Importance

  • Security

  • Ownership

  • Control

  • Updates of information

  • Funding and charging

Safeguards i
Safeguards I

  • Legal disclaimer:

    • No for-profit uses without permission of data owners (curators)

    • No repackaging and redistribution without permission of data owners (curators)

    • Data owners not responsible for data quality or accuracy

    • Negative data do not apply – absence of records is not indicative of absence of species, etc.

Safeguards ii
Safeguards II

  • Data remain at the owner institution – no centralization involved

  • No hacking – data are isolated from the original/master dataset

  • Institutions may restrict access to classes of data, e.g.,

    • Data from particular regions or taxa not served

    • Particular fields for sensitive species not served

    • Data for particular collectors or time periods not served

    • Etc.


  • Data ownership retained by institution that holds primary voucher specimen

  • Data are updated as often as wished … daily, if preferred by owner institution

  • Data quality improves over time

  • Detailed reporting of use of collections data to data owners (soon!)

  • Free and open access to users worldwide

  • Community cooperation opens many doors

Evolution of technology
Evolution of Technology

  • Dublin Core/Darwin Core

  • Z39.50

  • DiGIR



  • Distributed Generic Information Retrieval

  • http://digir.sourceforge.net/

Distributed biodiversity information networks
Distributed Biodiversity Information Networks

  • REMIB http://www.conabio.gob.mx/

  • SpeciesLink http://splink.cria.org.br/

  • MaNIS http://elib.cs.berkeley.edu/manis/

  • HerpNET http://www.herpnet.org/

  • ORNIS http://ornisnet.org/

  • AVH http://www.chah.gov.au/avh/

  • GBIF http://www.gbif.net/

  • ATREE http://www.ecoinfoindia.org

Distributed biodiversity information databases

Taxonomic data

Scientific literature

Gene sequence data

Recordings, images,


Stable isotope data

Primary Species’

Occurrence Data

Field notes, other

ancillary information

Parasites etc.

Stomach contents,


Geospatial data

describing locality


data showing

locality in space

and time