BIN21 Introduction

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The task of compiling biodiversity information bases that are adequate to support international conservation efforts is huge. It will be possible only through the concerted efforts of many agencies and many, many individuals.

A biodiversity network is a mechanism for linking information relevant to biodiversity and making it widely available by electronic and other means.

Its purpose is to support the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Agenda 21 that followed the Earth Summit at Rio, June 1992. It will do this by facilitating efficient access to information relating to all aspects of biodiversity. It will underpin the study of biodiversity, as well as its monitoring, management, use, conservation and preservation. By establishing links to many data resources it will lead to the better use of information. It will promote the concept of biodiversity and encourage the development of databases and networks, so stimulating and supporting scientific development and conservation.'


  1. The initiative is known as the Biodiversity Information Network 21. The network will facilitate access to all levels of information (from molecular to biosphere) and will combine the knowledge within each discipline, furthering the understanding of biodiversity of living systems. Such an effort will identify and seek to fill the gaps, leading to new research and more informed policy decisions.
  2. The goal is to exchange information by electronic means whenever possible, but to include other ways of communication as needed by the network participants. To achieve a global electronic access, support should be provided to regions where facilities do not exist.
  3. It will be a distributed network that will link many different sources of information across the world and will operate on a not-for-profit basis. Such a design is scientifically, economically and politically practical, allowing effort and resources to be shared.
  4. The network is open to a wide range of user groups, with particular attention to local communities, including, but not limited to scientists, teachers, natural resource managers, policy makers, regulatory and legislative agencies and public interest groups. The needs of the user community will be actively sought to enable their requirements to be met more effectively.
  5. The network will actively encourage the open exchange of information on a worldwide basis and will also encourage the standardisation of methodology of information exchange in collaboration with existing initiatives.
  6. A Secretariat was established as a focal point and clearing house to facilitate and coordinate the flow of information among those with an interest in biodiversity. (
  7. Cooperating groups will be established with the purpose of encouraging participation and regional development. Collaboration with existing centres will be encouraged in order to prevent duplication of efforts already underway and to promote efficient use of funds. Support for developing countries to ensure global participation will be an important element.
  8. Networking organisations and initiatives will be actively sought and encouraged to participate.


BIN21 will function as a Special Interest Network (SIN), which is a new paradigm for cooperation that is emerging on international computer networks. (Green, D.G. and Croft, J.R., 1994)

Functions and activities

information on the specialist topic. Besides articles and books in the traditional sense, publications can also include datasets, images, audio, and software.
provide users with access to information on the specialist topic. Besides information stored on-site, there are links to relevant information elsewhere. Often this takes the form of an authoritative, specialist archive.
provide a means for people in the field to keep in touch (mailing lists, newsgroups, newsletters, and conferences).


BIN21 will consist of a series of participating "nodes". Any site on the network can point to the BIN21, but to become a Node, a site must contribute to the network's functions by adopting BIN21's standards and protocols for relevant activities,such as:

Functions and activities of working groups


Technical Group

Liaison Group

Community Networking/Outreach

Of the workshop participants, core people working in each group are:

Technical Group:

Liaison Group:

Community Networking/Outreach

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