The IBF project is based on the development of the Diversity Workbench framework (www.diversityworkbench.net) and will expand the platform by a software application (“DiversityMobile”) for a handheld device or PDA (personal digital assistant). The approach is to gain biological research data from the field by using a PDA with GPS functionality and a digital imagery option. Several user interfaces for two major biological communities allow biodiversity scientists (or ‘para-biologists’) and ecologists to gather and store monitoring data or complex biological data already in the field. The user interface of the PDA will be interchangeable and give access to taxonomic name, ecological descriptor, and general scientific term presets, and allow for selecting reference points in digitized topographic maps. The gathered data are transferred to a data repository at the IT centre of the Bavarian Natural History Collections (SNSB) via data replication between the databases involved and are further redistributed to end-users via various types of interfaces. Besides this integrated infrastructure, the data repository hosts schemata and generic interfaces for the data exchange with PDAs, wrappers (ABCD schema) and external applications for data analysis and presentation. The complete dataflow and working environment is built up in cooperation between four research groups. In the course of the development, new strategies of complex data access and structuring will be modelled and tested. This especially concerns more-dimensional interrelations between organisms in a temporal and spatial context.
IBF is working with biologists in Bavaria. Therefore the IBF portal pages devoted to the technical infrastructure and with biological content are in German.