The countries of the former Soviet Union maintain significant stores of biodiversity information in the form of specimen collections and scientific publications from the past 150 years. However, most scientific communities active in the study of regional- and global-scale biodiversity do not yet share data through the GBIF network due a variety of factors, including the lack of information on relevant collections, institutions and specialists, the absence of digital data and the fact that most materials published before the 2000s are either in Russian or other national languages.
The project aims to improve access to biodiversity data from specimen collections and bibliographic resources in Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania. While the scope of action focuses on the three countries within their current boundaries, it expects to reach deep into the studies of regional biodiversity, including Polish and Russian legacy data.
Planned activities include:
- Identifying and inventorying the organizations in Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania that hold specimen collections
- Assessing the potential for digitizing and mobilizing bibliographical resources in library collections
- Creating a comprehensive resource of information materials in Russian that describe essential knowledge on biodiversity informatics, based on materials available from GBIF Portal
- Engaging key regional organizations through workshops and a conference
In March 2021, the project held an online workshop "The dataset preparation in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)". Attended by over 50 participants from countries including Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine, the participants created test datasets for publication through the IPT located in the NPC for Bioresources and based on the results of the event, a training manual has been prepared.
Also during the first half of the project, informational bulletins about GBIF Poland and GBIF Belarus have been prepared for publication through a publishing house. A list of organizations in Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania that study biological diversity, and may as well potentially act as publishing organizations, has also been complied.
Preparations for a list of publications on eukaryotes of Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania continues and by midterm reporting, more than 19,000 publications are included.
Development of the interface of the gbif.by website also continues, as well as the preparations for the International Scientific-Practical Conference «Global Database on Biodiversity. Modern development trends in Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia», due to be held in November 2021.