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Toward best practices for sharing and maintaining biodiversity data - GBIF Finland (FinBIF)
Iliyana Kuzmova
Hanna Koivula

Hanna Koivula[1]

The Finnish Museum of Natural History is a focal point for GBIF Finland (FinBIF). For the past few years we have been constructing a national research infrastructure to serve not only data needs of biodiversity researchers, but also environmental services. The aim is to fulfill many different data requirements for various kinds of surveys and assessments concerning biodiversity. Most of our data are openly available to anyone, but technically many data users have not been able to use our web services for retrieving the data they need. The main obstacle is that the services are very new and the awareness about exchange protocols and standards of the data is poor. This is why most of the data shared by FinBIF are still extracted manually upon request. Hence, one (still unreached) goal is to name and establish best practices for sharing and maintaining biodiversity data. This is done by applying selected parts, especially for logical architecture and communication, from Enterprise architecture. The method enables us to capture essential information of our research infrastructure under construction. 

Building a research infrastructure in an extremely heterogeneous "funding environment" has set some serious impediments along the way. On the other hand, it has allowed us to play with quite adventurous architectural structures and innovative pilot cases. One of these new approaches is the use of semantic web features for making data storage more flexible and data themselves better discoverable.

Participating in the pro-iBiosphere workshop on "How to improve technical cooperation and interoperability at the e-infrastructure level" that took place on the 8th of October 2013, in Berlin, gave me a good insight into existing European open biodiversity data and related services. Hands-on experience of listing our web services to the Biodiversity Catalogue triggered useful conversations on how to improve the interoperability and discoverability of the services, and gave participants take-home ideas. In the break-out discussion group we assessed the present set of metadata elements used in the Biodiversity Catalogue for describing individual services. Based on that evaluation, we made recommendations for additional elements. I also obtained many good ideas for further developing the FinBIF services.

[1] Finnish Museum of Natural History - IT Specialist GBIF Node Manager for Finland, Email: [email protected]


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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 312848