New tool automates the biodiversity data repatriation

- 11/08/2016

Released in November 2014, the Information System of the Brazilian Biodiversity (SiBBr) is an initiative of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC) and was considered the first step for Brazil to consolidate a national infrastructure data and biodiversity content. Recently, it implemented a system able to recover all the records in an automated fashion, which will speed up the data repatriation. Only on the first day, 850.491 new records in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility were repatriated. We invited the General-Director of the system, Andrea Portela, to talk about the new tool and SiBBr platform.

When was the new repatriation tool created and what is its main purpose?

It was recently created by the team SiBBr to automate, in Brazil, the process of data search and indexing on Brazilian biodiversity, provided by foreign institutions directly in GBIF. A manual process of data search and indexing were previously performed, which took a long time. The tool developed by us performs such action on in an automated fashion, repatriating the data and making them available in SiBBr as they are placed in the system providing GBIF data.

How does the scientific community received the SiBBr initiative?

We have made a huge awareness process on SiBBr, its objectives, perspectives and implementation methods. Today, we can satisfactorily say that we are in a data mobilization process, which, for its size, is unprecedented in Brazil. The focus is to computerize and qualify data from (but not only) biological collections, from old centuries to the latest institutions. In less than two years, we grew a base of 500 thousand records for more than 6 million, only of species occurrence. We have at least another 2.5 million ready records and indexing process, for display on the base. By December this year, we will have between 9 and 10 million records. This is only possible by the partnership with the scientific community. We received, on a monthly basis, many invitations to lectures on SiBBr, as well as requests for support computerization and provision of data by the scientific community.

Which is the partners importance, such as RNP, in this project?

Partnerships are at the heart of SiBBr. We need them to implement the system, to scale the data mobilization process, generate customized information and develop and implement tools and services. RNP, with the LNCC (National Laboratory for Scientific Computing), were and continue to be the foundation of SiBBr, giving us basic conditions of maintaining the excellent information technology infrastructure that is being implemented.

What are SiBBr future perspectives?

It is amazing how the outlook evolves and changes as we build the bridges of trust. The SiBBr was not born to be only a data aggregator system of species occurrence. Currently, the system has reached a degree of maturity in which we are diversifying the supply of services. As of July, we will have, like the data repatriation tool, the development of services that can be consumed in SiBBr page. We are making effective partnerships and working on developing features that increase the use of SiBBr in addition to information that we consider basic (such as information about the richness and diversity of species). Therefore, 2017 will be a year of great change and huge increase for the system.

Photo: José Sabino.