Summary of a retreat to discuss biological collections and biodi

Julian Humphries jmh3 at CORNELL.EDU
Thu Sep 14 12:12:41 CDT 1995

The summary below is the report of a retreat co-sponsored by the
University of Kansas and individual attendees to discuss ways and means
for the biological collections community to act collectively with respect
to their biodiversity information.

Summary of the Lawrence "Creating a national organization for biodiversity
information" Retreat September 8-10, 1995

On September 8-10, 1995 fourteen people from diverse backgrounds and
institutional affiliations met at the University of Kansas to discuss means
for improving access to biodiversity information in the United States,
particularly regarding biological collections.  The participants were
concerned with the long-term role of biological collections in improving
the dissemination of biodiversity information for science and the public.

The group agreed on the necessity to form an organization whose mission
is to:

"Create or enhance the infrastructure and tools necessary to organize
information derived from biological collections and associated biodiversity
enterprises into a maximally accessible form to meet the needs of society
and science."

The long-term aims of the organization will be to facilitate the
dissemination of existing and future collections data and information from
the nation's biodiversity for use by policy makers, environmental
managers, the public and the scientific and educational communities.

To accomplish this mission the organization will:

  - assist biological collections with information management solutions,
    support and training;
  - build and support tools for managing systematic, biogeographic and
    ecological databases in a distributed and interoperable environment;
  - assist biological collections with managing technological change;
  - integrate biological collections-based data with other databases,
    modeling tools and geographic information systems;
  - foster the process of full international access to biological
    collections information;
  - reduce the technical, political and social barriers to the free
    interchange of biodiversity information;
  - support initiatives, such as "smart systematics," using technology
    and information science to improve the efficiency, quality and impact
    to society of biodiversity science; and
  - provide quality information on biodiversity to science educators from
    K-12 and the university system.
  - advocate the support of systematics, inventories, and taxon-focused
    research to assure our ability to generate and maintain accurate
    specimen-based data

The next steps of this community initiative are to:

  1. hold a planning and development workshop early in 1996 with the aim
  of bringing together collections personnel, information providers,
  technical specialists and users to formally establish the organization
  and to set its goals and operating mechanisms;

  2. create a fully-staffed center (or centers) to provide technical and
  philosophical support, to provide bioinformatics products and services,
  and to carry out bioinformatics research and education; and

  3. organize and run technical and specialist workshops and training

Leonard Krishtalka (kris at
Julian Humphries (jmh3 at
Quentin Wheeler (qdw1 at
John Schnase (schnase at
Scott Miller (scottm at
Scott Lanyon (slanyon at
William Fink (wfink at
James Beach (beach at
Patrick Kociolek (kociolek at
Daniel Janzen (djanzen at
Winnie Hallwachs (whallwac at
Arthur Chapman (arthur at
Peter Arzberger (parzberg at
Meredith Lane (mlane at

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