The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has announced their decision to terminate funding of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) program. USGS had managed and funded the NBII program, which their website described as “a broad, collaborative program to provide increased access to data and information on the nation’s biological resources,” since the late 1990s.The long list of no-longer-supported resources includes the Aquatic Biota Survey Database, a Conferences of Interest database, the Global Invasive Species Information Network, and the National River Restoration Science Synthesis Website & Database. The list also includes tools and applications, such as the Houston Area Water Quality Mapping Application, and the Bird Conservation Data Access Wizard. In addition, NBII had managed collaboration support services; in that category, the no-longer-supported list includes several university grant programs and topical email discussion lists.
"What value have we lost with the defunding of NBII and can it be replaced? The NBII.gov website served as a central portal, a one-stop shop, for trusted biological resources online. Many of these are specialized resources that are very difficult find—or to distinguish from lower-quality resources—without a specialized tool like NBII.gov. This role could possibly be filled by another organization in a roughly similar way. NBII also funded and supported the development of collaborative tools and provided an organized space for collaboration. It is possible that another organization can commit partially to this role, but not likely with the same scope. Unique USGS resources that were primarily funded through the program have been lost, of course. The mission of NBII was to further a national goal of promoting information standards, metadata, and sharing in this sphere to further conservation and science; high-level support of this critical mission has also been lost."
[From Information Today, Inc., posted 19 Jan 2012, http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/NewsBre ... -80059.asp