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Electronic
Biologia Centrali-Americana

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About the BCA

The EBCA project, and the associated INOTAXA project (INtegrated Open TAXonomic Access), grew from a desire by the partners to widen greatly the accessibility of the information they hold. Currently data needed to undertake many kinds of research, including taxonomic, are available only as a scattered and widely distributed resources, inaccessible or unknown to the majority of the people who need them. Many of these data are held by the project partners, in their libraries, attached to specimens in their collections, in their card indices or in databases. The INOTAXA project was recently renamed from Biologia Centrali-Americana Centennial (BCAC) to reflect the larger scope of the project as defined from its inception.

A major resource for Mesoamerica, and the initial focus of this project, is the Biologia Centrali-Americana. The text and plates are available here as navigable JPEG images, now accessible as the EBCA. Currently the resource is available through the Internet, but production on CD-ROM is being considered. The EBCA is the first step towards an extraordinary new set of electronic resources and knowledge tools for biodiversity studies - INOTAXA. This will be a model for biodiversity informatics worldwide, to meet the global need for access to information for science, public policy, eco-tourism, and other uses.

For INOTAXA the text of the BCA is being marked up into XML and will be made fully searchable. Species and other taxa will be viewable individually, and links established from suitable points to collections databases, catalogues of names, other digitized texts, and web tools. More recent treatments and descriptions will be added over time to complement the BCA and provide a more complete set of resources for the region and ultimately other regions. All relevant data sources will be made available through a single access point. Details of this ground-breaking project are presented in the documents linked from the “Project Status” and “About the Project” pages.