Overall goal is the pilot site of the Social Insects World Wide Web (SIWeb), with sister sites for social wasps, bees and termites being under construction or negotiation.

The aim of the site is to provide free online access to all the information on the ant species of the world.

Specific goals

  • To provide a continuously updated ant systematics authority file, including all valid and invalid ant names (11,000 vs. 20,000) [Done]
  • To supplement ant surveys (e.g. as described in Agosti et al. (eds.), 2000, Ants: Standard Methods for Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity. Smithsonian Institution Press; or the South East Asian Ant Network, ANeT) by providing similar to GENBANK a facility to upload and download sample data. [First version up and running]
  • To supply other online initiatives such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), Species Information Service (SIS) at the World Conservation Union, or the Integrated Taxonomic Information Facility (IT IS). [Set up; in negotiation]
  • To provide access to the entire primary ant systematics literature (ca 4,000 publications and books in ca 800 journals by 533 authors since 1758) [ca 500 online, funding for all >75years requested; finished 2004]
  • To provide access to world wide georeferenced distribution data sets of ants of ecological or economic importance [Database set up; first 10,000 records for Afrotropical ants accessible in mid 2002; additional data in progress; Type database available per country]
  • To collaborate with FORMIS, the online ant-bibliography with ca 30,000 records of ant publications, to provide optimal access for literature searches. [Ongoing]
  • To provide identification aids to the ant taxa of the world, by providing a specific gateway to published identification keys and image in a first phase, and in a second to provide imagery (and complement ongoing web-based initiatives to all the ant species of the world) as well as to develop morphological data sets which can be used in an interactive way. [All keys catalogued; Key-links up in mid 2002; type imaging started, under negotiation; ant images >1,500 online, continuously growing]
  • To develop XML mark-up schemes and full text access to OCR-ed documents for optimal data searches (data mining), in collaboration with Tom Moritz, Library, American Museum of Natural History, Bob Morris, University of Massachusetts; Klemens Boehm, Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, and thus explore new ways on how systematics data can be mined and used from other areas such as Genomics. [Preliminary mark available; testing phase ongoing; first applications 2003]
  • To foster and support the description and charting of all the ants of the world (ca 20,000 expected). [Ongoing - no target date yet]
  • To provide state of the data gateways between systematics and conservation, evo-devo, agriculture or genomics [Available, continuously improved by feed back]
  • To pressure for making all the systematics and biodiversity data freely accessible to allow the best possible knowledgebase for research and conservation.
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