BioCASE Portal

Specimens and observations on Europe
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German botanical specimens and oberservation

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The Biological Collection Access Service for Europe, BioCASE, is a transnational network of biological collections of all kinds. BioCASE enables widespread unified access to distributed and heterogeneous European collection and observational databases using open-source, system-independent software and open data standards and protocols.

projects collaborating with bioCASE

Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities BioCASE is the GBIF Participant Node for the Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities.


news
New update mechanism for the BioCASe Provider Software

With the latest version of the BioCASe Provider Software, it becomes easier to update new versions. The setup script is now able to import the configuration of an existing BioCASe installation, including all data sources configured. An update hint on the start page will inform administrators of the installation of available updates.

Additional data items have been added to the DarwinCore archives produced by BioCASe, reducing the amount of information lost in the transformation from ABCD to DarwinCore. Firebird and Sybase databases are supported now, paging has been optimized for Oracle. Several smaller changes and fixes are part of this release; for a complete list, please refer to the version history.

Improved Mapping Editor for the BioCASe Provider Software

In the latest version of the BioCASe Provider Software, the mapping editor got a facelift. The concept tree, which can be quite large for complex data schemas as ABCD, is now collapsible. This allows nodes that are of no interest to be collapsed during the mapping process for a better overview of the tree.

The XML archiving now shows the progress indicator in percent, which will allow the user to better estimate the time required for completing the process. The new OFFSET clause introduced in SQL Server 2012 is now supported for better performance when huge datasets are paged. For a complete list of changes, see the version history.

BioCASe Monitor Service introduced in Biodiversity Data Journal

In the first volume of the Biodiversity Data Journal (BDJ) – a new community peer-reviewed, open-access publishing platform for biodiversity-related data –, an article on the BioCASe Monitor Service (BMS) has been published. This new tool for monitoring installations of the BioCASe Provider Software has been developed by a team at Natural History Museum Berlin (MfN) and Royal Museum of Central Africa Tervuren (RMCA).

It is released under the Creative Commons CC0 license and can be used to monitor networks of BioCASe data providers. It will aid the network manager in monitoring the availability of the providers, in checking the data mappings for completeness and plausibility and in keeping track of the provider’s progress in data provision (number of records published). Currently, it is used by two projects, OpenUp! and GBIF-D, the German GBIF node. More information on the tool as well as links to documentation and download location can be found in the BDJ article.

XML/DwC Archiving can now be restricted to single datasets

BioCASe allows publishing several datasets with a single web service, all datasets sharing the same technical access point. With the latest version of the BioCASe Provider Software, administrators can restrict XML archiving to single datasets within a web service, allowing the selective creation or update of XML and DarwinCore Archives. This improves performance significantly, paving the way for frequent (automated) updates of archives for continuously or regularly updated datasets.

A new optional attribute "expires” has been added to the Dataset Inventory. Based on a validity period set by the web service administrator, archives can be flagged automatically as outdated by the Provider Software. The release contains several fixes and other small changes; the complete list can be found in the version history.

BioCASe now produces Dataset-aware XML Archives

In the latest version 3.4 of the BioCASe Provider Software, the XML archiving features have been re-implemented completely and aligned with GBIF’s new dataset-aware Registry. Now each dataset published by a BioCASe web service will end up in a separate XML archive, storing all information published by the web service. GBIF will use the newly introduced BioCASe dataset inventory to discover these archives and use them for faster indexing. If desired, individual archives or the complete list of XML archives can be transformed into DarwinCore archives.

In addition, the archiving process has been streamlined and should be significantly faster on most installations; instead of using the CGI interface, the BioCASe libraries are now called directly. Dispensable formatting has been removed, reducing the size of XML documents stored in the archives by about one third. The archiving interface underwent a a comprehensive redesign.

The new release contains several fixes and other small changes; the complete list can be found in the version history.

BioCASe Provider Software 3.3.1 released

A version of the BioCASe Provider Software with smaller bug fixes and changes has been released. Now it is possible to transfer the mappings from one schema to another schema with the namespace. This allows, for example, upgrading from ABCD 2.06 to one of the extensions ABCD-EFG or ABCD-DNA or vice versa. More upgrade paths have been added.

For a complete list of changes and fixes, see the version history.

BioCASe Provider Software 3.3 released

A new version of the BioCASe Provider Software has been released. It now supports the archiving processes to be triggered through a deep link, without using the configuration tool interface. This allows archiving to be scheduled; for example, a DarwinCore Archive could be created monthly for being harvested by GBIF or any other biodiversity network. Both XML and DarwinCore Archives can be created through the deep link.

Several other changes have been implemented; for example, the ordering of Scan request results has been changed in order to increase compatibility with widely used indexing approaches. For a complete list of changes, see the version history.

BioCASe Provider Software 3.2 released

Version 3.2 of the BioCASe Provider Software has been released. It allows easy creating of DarwinCore Archives from an ABCD web service with just one click in the user interface. For special interest networks relying on the full richness of ABCD concepts, ABCD archives or other XML archives can be created in a similar fashion. Both archive types can be used to speed up and ease harvesting and indexing processes.

For a complete list of changes, see the version history.

BioCASe Provider Software 3.1 released

A new version of the BioCASe Provider Software has been released. The focus for improvements has been on the new XML archiving feature: The web interface has been overhauled and reacts faster now. If it is kept open during the archiving process, less load is put on the server for showing the progress log. Several smaller bugs have been fixed.

For a complete list of changes, see the version history.

BioCASe Provider Software 3.0.1 released

Shortly before Easter, a new version of the BioCASe Provider Software has been released. It comprises mainly bug fixes. Compatibility with Internet Information Server has been improved; if SQL Server is used, the configuration tool now provides drop-down lists for table and column names.

A complete list of bug fixes can be found in the version history.

BioCASe Provider Software 3.0 released

A new major version of the BioCASe Provider Software has been released. As an important new feature, version 3 can now create XML archives that store all information published by a BioCASe web service in a single file. If required, these archives can be transformed into DarwinCore Archives in a subsequent step.

In addition, a number of smaller changes and optimizations have been implemented. Metadata retrieval is now also supported for Oracle databases, which allows an easier configuration of the according web services. For a complete list of changes, see the version history.

BioCASe Provider Software 2.6.1 released

A new version of the Provider Software has been released. Now most configuration pages feature a “Help” link that points directly to the respective tutorial of the new PyWrapper documentation wiki. Moreover, it contains a number of smaller bug fixes, please see the version history for a complete list.

New BioCASe Provider Software Wiki Online

The new PyWrapper documentation wiki is now online at http://wiki.bgbm.org/bps. It has been rewritten completely from scratch for the latest version of the BioCASe Provider Software (2.6.0).

It features several step-by-step tutorials on installation, configuration, debugging, on preparing a database for publication with BioCASe, a beginner’s guide, a short documentation of ABCD, and a list of frequently asked questions. Many pages in the upcoming version of the Provider Software will include a “Help” link that points directly to the respective page in the online documentation.

BioCASe Provider Software 2.6 released

Version 2.6 of the Provider Software has been released. It features major changes in the user interface for the configuration tool that should ease the setup of the BPS considerably. Table setup has been completely overhauled; table and column names will now be retrieved from the database and shown in drop-down-boxes for commonly used DBMS. The mapping editor also uses drop-down-boxes now.

If MySQL or Postgres are used, the Provider Software now takes advantage of the OFFSET SQL clauses for serving Search requests, which increases performance for harvesting applications. Last but not least, a number of bugs have been fixed. See the Version History for a complete list of changes.

BioCASe-Workshop for the OpenUP project held in Berlin

The OpenUP! project launched in March will use BioCASe Technology to connect millions of multimedia objects stored in natural history collections to the European network Europeana, thereby making them accessible to the public in a high quality.

In order to build the required expertise in the associated project partners, a two day hands-on workshop was held on May 30th and 31st at the Botanic Museum in Berlin to teach the installation and configuration of the BioCASe Provider Software. 17 Participants from 9 countries will now use their knowledge to set up BioCASe installations in their own institutions.

BioCASe Workshop held in Rome

Italy is planning to set up its own BioCASe-based biodiversity network. Funded by the Ministry of Environment, in the first phase of the project several data providers will publish at least 1 million records. The BioCASe Provider Software will be used to feed specimen information from the data providers to a central node, which will then propagate the data to the BioCASe network and GBIF.

In order to build local BioCASe expertise, a hands-on workshop was held on March 2nd and 3rd in Rome. An overview on the architecure of biodiversity networks, the basic principles and the standards used was given. On the second day the participants installed their own BioCASe instance on local computers and configured the publication of a small collection database. Once working, they were used to set up a small, local biodiversity network with a prototypic data portal allowing a distributed query.

BioCASe now used by the Australian Virtual Herbarium
The BioCASe Provider Software is now used in the latest version of the Australian Virtual Herbarium. The herbarium databases of the State herbaria are equipped with a BioCASe wrapper for transferring the data to the central AVH database.
Moreover, a BioCASe feed will provide the AVH data to the Atlas of Living Australia, whose data portal will become operational this fall.
BioCASe Provider Software 2.5.4
A new version of the BioCASe Provider Software has been released. It includes several bugfixes, for example for session management and unicode characters. Datasources and schemas deleted will now be moved into a recycle bin and can be restored later, if necessary. See the version history for more details.
BioCASe Provider Software 2.5.3
A new version of the BioCASe Provider Software has been released. Apart from several smaller bugfixes, it adds support for the HISPID5 data standard (Herbarium Information Standards and Protocols for Interchange of Data). HISPID5 and the BioCASe Provider Software are used by Australian herbaria to feed their data to the Australian Virtual Herbarium (AVH) and to the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA).
Life Watch Online Survey launched
The European FP7-ESFRI project LifeWatch, e-science and technology infrastructure for biodiversity research and observatories is now one year into its preparatory phase, and in the next decade, LifeWatch will construct and bring into operation the facilities, hardware, software and governance structures for all aspects of biodiversity research. In order to make sure LifeWatch will live up the expectations, it is important to collect as many suggestions and contributions from future users of the new infrastructure.
For this reason, LifeWatch is conducting an online survey. Questions deal mainly with the LifeWatch "Services" and all the features LifeWatch could offer. Filling out the questionnaire will take about 20 minutes. At the end respondents will be able to indicate if they wish to be kept informed about the results and to subscribe to the LifeWatch Newsletter.
New version for BioCASE-SYNTHESYS/EDIT portal software available
The new BioCASE-SYNTHESYS/EDIT portal software is now available.
This software makes it possible to easily install and configure your own web portal to access biodiversity data.
The software offers a range of options for configuring the web portal. Configurable features include the specimen and observation database (implemented in either MySQL or MS-SQL and based on the GBIF-Index); the display of metadata (e.g. data about providers, institutions and collections); and query expansion process using taxonomic databases implementing the TOQE protocol.
The user interface design can also be modified without changing a single line of program code.
For more information on how to obtain and install the software please send a message to support@biocase.org.
SYNTHESYS and EDIT data portals now Microsoft SQL-Server based
The SYNTHESYS data portals for European data and for German botanical data, as well as the EDIT Specimen and Observation Explorer for Taxonomists, now use Microsoft SQL Server for their database backends, which previously used mySQL.
This transition, in conjunction with minor changes in the underlying data model, will markedly improve the performance of these portals. The data is still drawn from the mySQL-based GBIF index.
Biodiversity Collections Index online
The Biodiversity Collections Index (BCI) is now online. It replaces the metadata network formerly part of BioCASE.
Research into biodiversity relies on the use of specimens. These specimens are held in reference collections around the world. BCI is a central index to these collections and was instigated in October 2007 by Roger Hyam as a response to the work on Globally Unique Identifiers and Natural Collections Descriptions that was going on within Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG).
BioCASe Provider Software 2.5.0 released
The new provider software v2.5.0 has been released. It now works with Python 2.5, which eliminates the necessity to install additional python packages (apart from the module required for connecting to the DBMS you're using). Authentication and debugging support have completely been redesigned, several smaller bugs have been removed. Additional configuration templates have been added, which, for example, allow the setup of a BRAHMS 6 provider without any configuration work.
EDIT Biodiversity Service & Application Tracker
The EDIT Biodiversity Service & Application Tracker (BDTracker) is now available online http://www.bdtracker.net
The Biodiversity Service & Application Tracker is a collection of links to software, tools and resources useful to taxonomists. All applications and services are categorised into an expandable and otentially hierarchical system covering major biodiversity topics. The site was developed and initially populated with the help of the EDIT WP5. EDIT also certifies software to be compatible with EDIT's Platform for Cybertaxonomy, a variety of tools known to work together to assist taxonomic work.
In the long term after the project has finished (~2010) we ope the site will be maintained by the user community.
Anonymous users can search for tools and suggest new software to be reviewed. They also have the option to file bug tickets and suggest new features for the system. If they register and create an account, they can write comments to any review or even write reviews themselves that then have to be eleased for publication by the EDIT site administrator.
Each review page is dedicated to a single version of an application or service. It provides details such as system requirements, interfaces and standards, information on licensing and cost and most important a review from editors as well as a comments section at the bottom that is open for everyone.

For older news items please see the news archive.