Internet-based Biodiversity Database Workshop April 24 - 27, 2000


Developing the National Biological Information Infrastructure: Linking with the Natural Heritage Network

Anne Frondorf

Program Manager, National Biological Information Infrastructure, U.S. Geological Survey

The National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) http://www.nbii.gov program is a broad cooperative effort to establish a distributed Internet-based federation of biological resources data, information, and analysis tools. The NBII program is administered by the U.S. Geological Survey, but the effort depends on the active participation of many agencies, organizations, and individuals. NBII partners in government, academia, private industry, and the non-profit community are working together to accomplish several related goals: (i) to make significant biological resources information from many sources more broadly available; (ii) to jointly develop new types of tools and standards that make it easier to find information on certain species, topics, or geographic locations; (iii) to integrate information that is in different forms and formats; (iv) and to better use this great wealth of existing information as a tool in research, for resource management and decision making, in education, and many other applications.

Individual natural heritage programs, the Association for Biodiversity Information (ABI), and The Nature Conservancy have been active participants in the development of the National Biological Information Infrastructure effort since its inception. Examples of these relationships include the cooperative development of the initial web site for the ABI, and NBII support (along with other Federal partners) to the design and development of ABI's new NatureServe system that will provide on-line access to data from the conservation data centers and from the Natural Heritage Network's Central (national-level) databases.

Opportunities for further collaboration between the heritage community and the NBII include work on planning the development of the "next generation" of the NBII, as recommended by the Biodiversity and Ecosystems Panel of the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology in its 1998 report to the President (Teaming with Life: Investing in Science to Understand and Use America's Living Capital).