Topic: Why GBIF? (re that NBN questionnaire)

The NBN seems quite keen on GBIF these days, this describes itself thus:

Darwyn Sumner

Re: Why GBIF? (re that NBN questionnaire)

If you want data to appear on GBIF you have to (sort of) go through a local node, of which the NBN is the UK one. The NBN is listed as the UK 'voting participant' on this page: Not sure if by 'participant' they mean 'data provider' though.

Charlie Barnes
Information Officer
Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership

Re: Why GBIF? (re that NBN questionnaire)

I think sharing information on other countries flora and fauna is a question for the NBN forum rather than this one. But: as I understand it, the NBN as a local node can rubber stamp providers. The UK Natural History Museum has now put collections data on GBIF (which isn't on the NBNG <yet> I believe) … a03c50a862 and is endorsed by the NBN. There are other UK institutions like Kew doing the same. So people like yourself can either set yourself up directly and ask for endorsement - or probably preferably a group of NSS organisers could do it together, perhaps with help from BRC, NHM or NFBR.

The UK is of course unusual in having such an organised network of volunteer recording, so GBIF isn't set up to cater for it - it is really about museums and institutions sharing their data.

I can't say I find GBIF particularly user-friendly either, not that I've spent much time with it. You can drill down and download occurrence records though - hence the question in the survey, as a data provider I won't know who is downloading data from GBIF so they want to know if that is OK.

Use Data | Explore occurrences … +lateralis

(Download button at bottom of page and top of page - need to sign up to proceed, which I haven't.)

I can see 2 non-UK records:

Teresa Frost
WeBS National Organiser, BTO. NFBR Council Member.

Re: Why GBIF? (re that NBN questionnaire)

Good afternoon

For way of a little background I hope the following information helps to answer some of your questions.  Please do not hesitate to email me at [email protected] if you wish to discuss this further.

The NBN Secretariat recognises that in the past at times it has been rather unclear as to the relationship between NBN and GBIF, and also that data from the NBN partnership were available via GBIF. We want to rectify this and work with those NBN data partners who wish their data to be shared globally via GBIF to ensure their data are made available, as well as increase communications surrounding our relationship with GBIF.

Historic relationship with GBIF
The UK currently offers 478 datasets from the National Biodiversity Network to GBIF. GBIF was given a copy of only publicly downloadable data (excluding sensitive species) from NBN Gateway 4 prior to July 2013, before the switch over to the new version of the NBN Gateway (version 5) in October 2013. 

This data transfer was prior to access control changes which were implemented with the release of NBN Gateway 5, when data providers had to explicitly state that the data would be downloadable.  At this time, GBIF Terms & Conditions were nearly identical to those of the NBN Gateway.

During the NBN Gateway access controls consultation in 2012-13 the Secretariat of the NBN agreed that all downloads would be logged in return for removing the

Re: Why GBIF? (re that NBN questionnaire)

Thanks Rachel. I'm really glad to hear GBIF are including the CC-BY-NC licence!

Maria Longley
Community Manager
Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC (GiGL)

6 (edited by Darwyn Sumner 19-08-2015 08:24:04)

Re: Why GBIF? (re that NBN questionnaire)

Thanks for the replies everyone.
Charlie and me have had debates on GBIF on the NBN Forum in the past, Teresa.
One thing I think I'm trying to initiate is some consensus and perspective about the value of GBIF to the ALERC community.
ALERC people are spending some time on GBIF issues (e.g. Charles Roper over on the NBN Forum).
Even as a Recording Scheme organiser, I'm probably unusual in having an interest in European species distribution, for a small handful of others, placing UK species within a European context might be as far as they go.
But GBIF doesn't do that, contributions by other countries are slow or absent (e.g. Hungary hasn't got a contributor listed) and there is no mechanism for individuals to contribute European records (

Is there anything at all that a LERC might want to use it for?

What's it for?

Darwyn Sumner

Re: Why GBIF? (re that NBN questionnaire)

Speaking for CBDC, we tell our recorders that their data will be used for research, and GBIF is the easiest way for our data to reach the research audience, particularly for people doing research across countries. Large aggregations of data can be "played with" in a different way to detailed local ecology studies, for example biodiversity changes in response to global change - climate, habitat etc. where the type of analysis means errors (e.g. identification errors) don't impede the work too much. Speaking as Tullie House Museum, it means the collections information is reaching a global audience: reaching "audiences" being a key outcome for museums. Just like the NBN Gateway, as it grows it will be more useful for conservation, e.g. future red lists - as a signpost as least. We'd struggle to get these outcomes on our own, so value the NBN's role (hopefully) that means we can put our data in one format (which we are doing anyway for delivery to partners) and then you can all these extra use benefits without any extra work on our part. So in summary, we use it for dissemination. After all, most of our data is not for protected species so not pulled out in desk studies, so it will just sit here almost entirely unused otherwise. But as a museum based LERC we are in the minority and are priorities may be different to other LERCs.

I think it will continue to grow and other countries will catch up - culture change will take a while. Hopefully eventually museums will view the provenence data of objects (=biological record) as important as the object itself for research, and "amateur" recording will become bigger in other countries too.

Teresa Frost
WeBS National Organiser, BTO. NFBR Council Member.