Towards integrated global data infrastructures
Biological and geoscience collections form an important part of our rich scientific heritage and provide the basis for much of what we know today about our planet and how we humans have influenced it. Therefore, digital information about collections and their specimens provides enormous opportunities to explore a wide range of questions and rapidly gains importance for researchers and society.
Over the past ten years, several programmes for the digitisation of natural history collections were initiated, most notably (Integrated Digitized Biocollections) in the United States and (Distributed System of Scientific Collections) in Europe. These initiatives facilitate collaborations with and between collection holding institutions such as museums and botanical gardens to build for the integration of specimen data across multiple institutions as well as to foster the adoption and implementation of and best practices.
The goal of SwissCollNet is to facilitate the access to standardized natural history collection data held in Swiss institutions and data of specimens collected in Switzerland and curated abroad for researchers, data providers, curators, collection-holding institutions and customers from the cantons and the federal administration in Switzerland. An online-portal – the Swiss Virtual Natural History Collection () – will inform on collections curated in Switzerland and containing biological and paleontological specimens and guide the customer to national and international data nodes for more detailed information.