Both BIODIV ("Biodiversity Resources in
Belgium") and BioCISE ("Resource Identification for a
Biological Collection Information System in Europe") are
projects established in the area of biodiversity research
information. Although the projects differ in scope, considerable
congruence exists with regard to the information provided.
The main objective of BIODIV (http://www.br.fgov.be/BIODIV/), an initiative of the Belgian Federal Office for Scientific, Technical and Cultural Affairs, is to draw up an inventory of resources concerning biodiversity research in Belgium. This involves projects, programmes, research institutes, biological collections, surveys, and experts. All data are kept in a database running at the National Botanic Garden of Belgium in Meise and are accessible on the World Wide Web.
The European Union (DG XII) project BioCISE has the aim to identify and to analyse existing biological collection information systems (CIS) and to draw up proposals for the implementation of common user interfaces for querying local, decentralised working collection databases. An on-line database containing the available information about collections in the EU and Israel documents the current state of the survey.
Since both projects compile a catalogue of collections and collection information systems, a co-operation was established in order to avoid duplication of efforts. This also serves as an example for the linking of databases provided by a national and an international project in the area of biodiversity research. During two meetings in Brussels and Berlin in autumn 1998 the data structures needed to establish the coupling mechanism were defined. Tools were implemented which map collection categories used within the BIODIV system to those used by the BioCISE collection catalogue. Choosing a Belgian laboratory within the BioCISE collection catalogue will now dynamically create a link to the referring entry in the BIODIV database. This coupling mechanism serves as a prototype for further international co-operation.