Data about the world’s biodiversity is complex. For centuries, scientists and researchers studying the natural world have recorded a wealth of information about the organisms they observe or collect. Public and private institutions around the world manage this information, and, profiting from the same technological advances that enable scientists and amateurs alike to contribute to our body of scientific evidence, it’s possible, at least in theory, to establish richer connections between all these data. But standardizing all their sources and formats is an overwhelming task.
GBIF is a research infrastructure for biodiversity data. In general, we integrate data by focusing on the specific elements that tie all this varied and variable information together: evidence that a verified source found a specific organism at a specific time and place. Most data include other details, but by using GBIF.org and its associated standards, tools and web services, we enable people to publish, discover and retrieve thousands of datasets containing hundreds of millions of species occurrences.