Comprehensive knowledge access


Delivering access to all published biodiversity knowledge.

Progress: some progress (issues understood, needs operational implementation)


The other elements in this focus area have related to the provision of central indexes of particular types of structured information which can feed directly into modelling and analysis tools. However the biodiversity data that have been gathered and published are much richer than these core subsets – consisting of anything from video recording to identification tools to conservation assessments. Locating all information about a species – or the biodiversity of a defined area– requires seamless access to the underlying information resources, structured and unstructured. Users may also want to retrieve information in other ways, such as by usage or threat level, or in other languages.

Many national and thematic activities – and other web communities such as Wikipedia and Wikispecies – organize and deliver web content for particular species, either as online databases or as species pages. The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), now represents an international partnership of institutions and agencies committed to providing open access to authoritative species information, including multimedia, while EUBrazilOpenBio aims to combine open access resources including data, tools and services in a single ‘e-infrastructure’. Other organizations manage key expert-curated data sets such as the IUCN Red List and the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) World Database on Protected Areas. Users need efficient mechanisms to discover, access and integrate all of these resources.

In the short term, relevant data standards and links into the taxonomic framework need to be widely adopted to support the sharing of different types of species information along with mechanisms enabling users to locate materials in a language that they can understand.

In the medium term, comprehensive catalogues should be developed to simplify access and reuse of authoritative species descriptions, images, identification keys, etc.

In the long-term, all species information should come to be managed and curated as an inter-connected digital knowledge base.