What is ABIF?

The Australian Biodiversity Information Facility (ABIF) develops tools to support a 'One-Stop-Shop' to access Australian biodiversity data. It aims to develop a data portal or gateway for real-time access to a wide range of biodiversity data held and maintained by individuals and institutions throughout Australia, including Australia's biological collections and government departments and agencies. ABIF does not hold data centrally but accesses it in a distributed network of individual databases. ABIF tools integrate these disparate data sources into a single "virtual" system, supporting both the searching and reporting of information, and appearing as if the data came from a single database.

ABIF develops both data access and analytical tools. Data is drawn from a wide range of sources including biological specimens (both vouchered specimens and observations), taxonomic catalogues, literature and image databases, molecular biology sources and ecological studies. These tools assist with the analysis and visualization of this information. This includes mapping tools to show the occurrence or distribution of species and statistical tools to assist with interpreting search results. All information provided through ABIF is made freely available using international standards for data representation and interchange.

ABIF Management and Governance

ABIF Steering Committee

The ABIF Steering Committee assists with setting overall directions and gauges the success of the project. This committee develops policies, considers intellectual property issues, assesses requirements for data providers and data users, oversees funding bids, evaluates ABIF functional requirements and develops relationships with data custodians.

ABIF Technical Committee

This committee is responsible for the implementation of ABIF. It develops technical specifications and oversees software development and deployment. This committe currently has the following membership.

  • Steve Shattuck - ABIF (CSIRO Entomology/ABRS) - Chair
  • Amit Parashar - National Oceans Office (DEW)
  • David Levy - ABIF (ABRS)
  • Emma Lumb - Australian Plant Pest Database (DAFF)
  • Greg Whitbread - Australian Virtual Herbarium (ANBG)
  • Paul Flemons - Online Zoological Catalogue of Australian Museums (Australian Museum)
  • Peter Neish - Herbarium Information Systems Committee (Royal Botanical Garden, Melbourne)
  • Robyn Lawrence - ABRS (DEW)
  • Tony Rosling - Environment and Business Information Systems Section (DEW)

Information and Services Provided by ABIF

The tools being developed by ABIF provide access to a wide range of information sources. The most significant of these include the following:

  • ABIF Web Site - The central component of ABIF. This site provides extensive information regarding ABIF (and its parent, GBIF), including its information sources and services, and acts as a document repository for ABIF and its partners.
  • Basic Specimen and Observation Data - This key area involves biological specimens (and observations of specimens) held in the world's biological collections (museums and herbaria) which relate to Australian species.
  • Taxon Names - This area provides access to the names of known Australian species, gives their correct spelling and current status and classification.
  • Taxon Details - A wealth of information associated with taxa at all taxonomic ranks.
  • Images - "A picture is worth a thousand words", and this area provides access to a rich array of these pictures.

In addition to the above information sources, ABIF is developing a range of tools for reporting and analyzing data. These include the following:

  • Interactive Specimen Mapping - These tools provide interactive maps showing the occurrence or distribution of species.
  • Biodiversity Assessment Tool - Several tools are provided to present summaries of the distribution of specimens across the Australian landscape and includes modeling and reporting tools.
  • Classification Explorer - A tool for visualizing and navigating a taxonomic classification.
  • Taxon Information System - Presenting a range of taxon-based information in a single, integrated framework.
  • Biological Image Library - A portal for locating biodiversity images.

These information sources and analysis tools combine to provide a rich environment for exploring Australia's diverse and unique flora and fauna. See TechnicalImplementation for additional details.