Free Database Availability, Metadata and the Internet: An Example of Two High Latitude Components of the Census of Marine Life


Our understanding of science is based on data. For hundreds of years, natural scientists have collected observations and compiled measurements. Historically, the data have been recorded and archived in notebooks, typed reports and more recently in electronic format. Most projects had a small and somewhat opportunistic scope, and lacked a wider international coordination and strategy; this is specifically the case for databases and their dissemination. Only in the last decades has the culture of data sharing and open access databases developed, and the focus changed to international collaborations and questions of global relevance (Esanu and Uhlir 2004; Huettmann 2005; see Graham et al. 2004 for Natural History Collections). In times of globalization, such an approach is urgently required. In the field of biodiversity, the need for open access databases has grown tremendously in the last decades because of the growth of humankind to the extent where man directly explores resources within and beyond their sustainability and directly and indirectly affects biota to extinction (Wilson 1999). Inventories represent the essence for sustainable management, for assessing and understanding changes and to inform educated decision-making (Braun 2005).


Southern Ocean Marine Life Global Biodiversity Information Facility International Polar Year Open Access Database 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Fisheries and Ocean SciencesUniversity of Alaska-FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  2. 2.Australian Antarctic DivisionAustralian Antarctic Data CentreKingstonAustralia

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