GBIF Switzerland

Global Biodiversity Information Facility Switzerland

The GBIF Switzerland initiative aims at honoring the commitments entered into by Switzerland by the ratification of the Memorandum of Understanding of GBIF. Its objective is simple, but quite ambitious: in the long term, to register all specimens of botanical, paleontological and zoological collections of Museums, conservatories and botanical gardens in Switzerland. Observational data of all faunistic, floristic and cryptogamic databases are to be collected and the compilation made accessible via a unique national platform, the Swiss GBIF node.

The work of the GBIF Switzerland project is accompanied by a scientific commission, made up by representatives of partner institutions of the Swiss Biodiversity Data Network.

Concretization of the GBIFSwitzerland initiative on a national scale has implied the definition, the realization and the follow-up of concrete project statements. These projects cover the recording and digitalisation process of museum data, which has to be standardised, compiled and published online. 2011, sixteen projects were carried out successfully.

Key points

2011. The directors of 24 institutions managing natural history collections (Natural History Museums, Herbaria, Botanical gardens) as well as all national databanks support  the Swiss GBIF strategy and confirm their active participation in the Swiss Biodiversity Data Network.

2010. The strategy paper « SwissColl 2030. Révision scientifique et relevé des collections suisses d’histoire naturelle, un projet fédérateur du Réseau suisse d’informations sur la biodiversité » (Scientific Revision and Digitization of Swiss Natural History Collections) is drafted. It is dispatched to directors of museums and Swiss national faunistic, floristic and cryptogamic databanks in order to receive their approval to the project. Swiss entries generated within GBIF.ch digitization projects are georeferenced according to the standards of the Swiss national databanks. First reintegration of project data into the local database system of the corresponding collection holding institution. Linkage of the Swiss national fauna checklist to the Pan European Species Directory Infrastructure PESI.

2009. Five new data digitization projects are launched, funded by GBIF Switzerland. The higher systematics used by the Swiss Node is linked to the Catalogue of Life. The scientific committee decides to technically create the prerequisites for the integration of associated entries generated within the digitization projects (Host-Parasites, samples). The Swiss Node attends the GBIF Regional Nodes Meeting from October 16-18 in Copenhagen.

2008. The first version of the centralized GBIF Switzerland database is operational. Nearly 400'000 Swiss records from five institutions are available on GBIF.org. Data cleaning, validation routines and a significant processing of the thesaurus content contribute to a homogeneous quality of Swiss data.

2007. A prototype of the Data Portal GBIF Switzerland is presented to the scientific committee. The publication infrastructure is adapted in order to be in accordance with the directives of the Federal Office for the Environment and the Swiss national databanks for the publication of geodata, which permits the publication of all datasets of the national databanks on GBIF. A standardized citation element at record level is provided. The Swiss Node takes part in the symposium «Demystifying data sensitivity to increase data provision» from October 14–15 in Amsterdam, organised prior to the GBIF.org Governing Board Meeting. Since 2007, GBIF.ch informs on its activities at the annual meeting of Swiss curators.

2006. The first Swiss datasets are published on GBIF.org (Conservatoire et jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Naturhistorisches Museum Bern). A multilingual, hierarchical thesaurus permits the normalization of key concepts. GBIF.ch allows for the publication of image data. Curators are invited to a one-day meeting on the Swiss GBIF inititative, held at  Naturhistorisches Museum Bern.

2005. The GBIF Switzerland website is online. A data security concept is defined. The GBIF.ch Committee decides to adopt ABCD as data schema. Definition of the metadata strategy and connection to the international data network. Further seven digitization projects are initiated.

2004. January 28, about 50 participants, of which 36 representatives of Swiss herbariums and natural historical collections), take part in the first meeting of the Swiss GBIF project at the Natural History Museum in Bern. Under the initiative of Members of the Task Force Systematics of the Swiss Academy of Sciences, a scientific committee is set up for the GBIF Switzerland initiative. The first four data digitization projects are initiated. They are funded by the GBIF Switzerland project.

2003. The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) arranges the cooperation of Switzerland with GBIF and assigns the Swiss Biological Records Center CSCF with the construction of a "Participant node" as well as the transfer of Swiss data to the global network.

2001. Switzerland, under the direction of the Federal Office for Education and Science (now State Secretary for education and research), authorizes MoU in 2001 under the title of GBIF associate member.