There are about 30 thousand different species of flora and fauna cataloged in Chile but it is estimated that there are about 170 thousand groups of organisms that are barely known or unknown because they live in environments that are not well explored.
That is the estimation given by Dr. Javier Sellanes, a professor at the Universidad Católica del Norte (Chile) and a manager of the project that gave life to Pandora – the platform that manages a distributed repository network for the conservation of information related to biodiversity in Chile.
In Chile, public authorities and universities are working together to register, monitor, and manage the country’s protected areas, endangered species and biological resources.
Connected through the REUNA research & education network, they collaborate using the new Pandora platform to manage biodiversity information in a standardized way. Pandora is a scientific information management network that enables researchers to store, preserve and share the vast amount of scientific information they create in a format other researchers and specialists can understand.
By storing scientific information and making it accessible, Pandora supports the environmental public policies of Chile. As well as managing biodiversity information in a standardized way and allowing efficient monitoring of protected areas and biological resources, Pandora also facilitates and promotes scientific cooperation at national and international levels.
“Digital preservation of information is crucial for present and future research. From the moment in which this information is released to the world, in addition, to analyze and understand it, it also allows other researchers to contribute to it”, explains Diego Pino, the leading developer of this platform. Pino says that this type of platform “seeks to open information and systematize science, and also to allow scientists to have control over what they are doing on a day to day basis.”
Pandora is based on a digital object repository and the concept of linked data. Each participating university has its own node, which is connected through REUNA’s network to a central platform, storing the scientific information as catalogues that are meta archived. The open source software Islandora was used to develop Pandora.
The Pandora initiative is coordinated by REUNA, and the participating institutions are Universidad Católica del Norte, Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación, Universidad de La Frontera, Universidad Austral de Chile, the National Museum of Natural History of Chile, the Center for Advanced Studies in Arid Zones and the Ministry of Environment of Chile.
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