At the technical level, GBIF consists of a distributed network of data sets accessible through portals and in which data can be found, processed and used. GBIF is a typical Open Access initiative with a strong ICT component and is the only international eScience data infrastructure for biodiversity-related research.

According to its mission as a GBIF node, NLBIF supports organisations and institutions with biodiversity data in standardising their data and placing them online interoperably, making them (internationally) findable and usable.


To this end, NLBIF has built up a specific infrastructure in the last few years, adhering to the following principles:

  • standards (Darwin Core, Dublin Core, OAI-PMH and others)
  • interoperability (setting up processes and selecting tools to optimise data exchange)
  • open source (choice of software, sharing knowledge and modules)
  • efficiency (supporting other parties’ initiatives, open source, re-using knowledge and modules)

ICT and infrastructure

The infrastructure offered by NLBIF consists of tools, data protocols and standards that make it possible to standardise, register, validate and publish data. An important part of this is developed by and in collaboration with GBIF, another part in The Netherlands.

Application in The Netherlands

In The Netherlands, the GBIF/NLBIF infrastructure is used by a host of organisations:

  • Natural history collection institutes such as NCB Naturalis and several smaller natural history museums, to publish their collections internationally
  • Research institutes such as Alterra (part of Wageningen University & Research Centre) and the Fungal Biodiversity Centre (part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences), to exchange scientific biodiversity data in a standardised manner
  • Government organisations charged with monitoring biodiversity and the environment, such as the provincial governments and the water boards united in the Foundation for Applied Water Research (STOWA), to make data accessible to the public
  • Academic education and research institutes use GBIF data for research and in courses and workshops

Dissemination of knowledge

Additionally, NLBIF disseminates international knowledge on biodiversity informatics in The Netherlands and informs the international scientific community on Dutch initiatives in this field.

Contributing to Biodiversity-ICT

Using pilots, trials and newly developed ICT tools, NLBIF demonstrates, with a focus on scientifically and economically relevant applications, the usefulness and necessity of online sharing of biodiversity data.