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German research team targets 'at risk' data on biodiversity
Date:12/19/2011

Copenhagen, Denmark A new German-based project is setting out to rescue biodiversity data at risk of being lost, because they are not integrated in institutional databases, are kept in outdated digital storage systems, or are not properly documented.

The project, run by the Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem, provides a good example for a GBIF recommendation to establish hosting centres for biodiversity data. This is one of a set of data management recommendations just published by GBIF.

The team behind the German project called reBiND (http://rebind.bgbm.org/), or Biodiversity Needs Data, has started identifying threatened databases for archiving, and will make them accessible via the GBIF network.

The focus is initially on specimen and observational data that are already digitized but that are not part of the documentation process of a museum or other institution. Examples include data from diplomas or PhD theses, generally stored on a computer hard drive or a disc and often in danger of getting lost because of lack of documentation.

Examples of data being 'rescued' by the reBiND project are:

  • A private collection of observation data on beetles from meadow orchards in Southern Germany. The data had been stored by biologist Andreas Kohlbecker on a 1986 Mac 512 computer, using a Mac OS 6.8 operating system and making use of Filemaker II software from 1989. The data were rescued by running the operating system and software in Basilisk II Mac Emulator.
  • Extensive primary data from a PhD thesis on epiphytic moss vegetation in the Canary Islands. They had been stored in 1997 on obsolete 3.5-inch floppy discs using Excel files. They have been made readable using an external floppy drive and will be converted to XML format. These data are especially valuable because the study was the first to document moss com
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  • Contact: Sampreethi Aipanjiguly
    saipanjiguly@gbif.org
    (45) 35-32-14-70
    Global Biodiversity Information Facility
    Source:Eurekalert

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