Data Center Description
The purpose of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is to make the world's primary data on biodiversity freely and universally available via the Internet.
GBIF works cooperatively with and in support of several other international organizations concerned with biodiversity. These include (but are not limited to) the Clearing House Mechanism and the Global Taxonomic Initiative of the Convention on Biological Diversity , and regional biodiversity information networks.
Participants in GBIF have signed the Memorandum of Understanding, and support network Nodes through which they provide data.
Functionally, GBIF encourages, coordinates and supports the development of worldwide capacity to access the vast amount of biodiversity data held in natural history museum collections, libraries and databanks. Near term GBIF developments will focus on species and specimen-level data.
Technically, GBIF is evolving to be an interoperable network of biodiversity databases and information technology tools using web services and Grid technologies. In the near term, GBIF will provide a global metadata registry of the available biodiversity data with open interfaces. Anyone can then use it to construct thematic portals and specilised search facilities. Building on the contents of this registry, GBIF will provide its own central portal that enables simultaneous queries against biodiversity databases held by distributed, worldwide sources. In the long term, molecular, genetic, ecological and ecosystem level databases can be linked to the system. These will facilitate and enable data mining of unprecedented utility and scientific merit.
As its work programs progress, GBIF will enable users to navigate and put to use the world's vast quantities of biodiversity information. This information is vital to generating economic, environmental, social and scientific benefits from the sustainable use, conservation and study of biodiversity resources.