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Research and societal benefits of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility

James L. Edwards

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[...] Globally, natural history collections and herbaria contain a far vaster amount of information, but because it is not dynamically accessible, even many taxonomists do not know it exists. The good news is that CONABIO's concept is now, in effect, being replicated worldwide through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), an Internet- accessible interoperable network of biodiversity databases and information technology tools. In February 2004, GBIF went online with a prototype data portal ( for simultaneously accessing data from the world's natural history collections, herbaria, culture collections, and observational databases. The portal is currently serving data from more than 50 providers of specimen and observational data, and from more than 20 names databases. It allows users to search for georeferenced specimen and observational data, check for common and scientific names for organisms (including synonyms), plot maps showing the known localities of specimens in the system, and retrieve lists of taxa by country. Although GBIF currently makes accessible only a small proportion of the world's digitized biodiversity data, by the end of 2004 it should be serving more than 100 million specimen and observational records. [...]

BioScience, Vol. 54, No. 6. (1 June 2004), pp. 486-487,[0486:rasbot];2 
Key: INRMM:9951620



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