TITLE: Biodiversity & Biological Collection

ACCESS: http://www.biocollections.org/

One of the oldest Web sites to provide quality information about biodiversity, biological collections, and associated software, biocollections.org provides life sciences data to a variety of academic disciplines and audiences. Biocollections.org is managed by faculty from both the University of Texas and the University of Michigan, making this a cooperative scholarly effort, while the server is housed at the Museum of Zoology of the University of Michigan. Additionally, the National Science Foundation provided funds in 2002 for a forthcoming major upgrade of hardware and software for the site.

One of the key values of the site lies in its wide array of links to authoritative information about biological collections specimens, taxonomic authority files, directories of biologists, the Delta system of encoding taxonomic descriptions for computer processing, and links to hundreds of biodiversity and collection resources. The links alone at the primary level provide access to hundreds of sites that then provide secondary access to thousands of quality sites.

The links to ichthyology resources, for example, lead a user to the Ichthyology Collection of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (ANSP), which in turn has a link to an ANSP database containing 124,784 records of specimens in its ichthyology department collections.

The set of links to conservation Web sites provides, among other topical resources, a link to Monarch Watch, a University of Kansas Web site showcasing a cooperative network dedicated to the study of the Monarch butterfly. The 81 "Biological Collections" links provide a wealth of links to museum collections across the United States and Great Britain, which in turn give access to online information on hundreds of thousands of biological specimens across most living species.

"Conferences" provides news and updates on a wide variety of life sciences conferences, including primatology, mammalogy, ornithology, and parisitology meetings. "Directories and Publications" highlights information on a variety of U.S. and international journals across the life sciences. "Collection Databases" offers entry into a wonderful variety of international online resources users might not readily find on other life sciences Web sites. Examples include the Tulane University Museum of Natural History collection of 7 million fish specimens in

200,000 lots; the Ornithology Collection of Cornell University's Museum of Vertebrates, with worldwide coverage and specimens from all continents and more than 134 different countries; and the botanical databases from the Department of Botany at the Natural History Museum in London. This site is recommended for all higher education institutions from community college to graduate level and addresses faculty research needs.

John Creech
Central Washington University

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