Facilitating Access to Biodiversity Information: A Survey of Users’ Needs and Practices
- 467 Downloads
Biodiversity information is essential for understanding and managing the environment. However, identifying and providing the forms and types of biodiversity information most needed for research and decision-making is a significant challenge. While research needs and data gaps within particular topics or regions have received substantial attention, other information aspects such as data formats, sources, metadata, and information tools have received little. Focusing on the US southeast, a region of global biodiversity importance, this paper assesses the biodiversity information needs of environmental researchers, managers, and decision makers. Survey results of biodiversity information users’ information needs, information-seeking behaviors and preferred information source attributes support previous conclusions that useful biodiversity information must be easily and quickly accessible, available in forms that allow integration and visualization and appropriately matched to users’ needs. Survey results concerning additional information aspects suggest successful participation in both the creation and provision of biodiversity information include an increased focus on information search and other tools for data management, discovery, and description.
KeywordsBiodiversity Science information Information needs Information access Information providers
Many people were involved at various stages in this research and manuscript. Thanks to Beth Meko for her assistance on the literature review, Christopher Caldwell for his work on survey design, and Jana Redmond, Harrison Pang, and Ashley Pruitt for their work on the survey frame. Special thanks to Jean Freeney of US Geological Survey (USGS) for her support throughout the project. This project is based upon work previously supported by the USGS National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) Program before its program termination in 2012.
The research in this study complies with all laws in the US. The study was approved by the University of Tennessee Institutional Review Board.
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Abell R, Olson DM, Dinerstein E, Hurley P, Diggs JT, Eichbaum W, Walters S, Wettengel W, Allnutt T, Louks CJ, Hedao P (2000) Freshwater ecoregions of North America: a conservation assessment. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- Cullen P, Cottingham P, Doolan J (2001) Knowledge seeking strategies of natural resource professionals. In: Paper presented at the synthesis of a workshop held in Bungendore, NSW, 5–7 June 2000, Bungendore, NSWGoogle Scholar
- Cushing J, Wilson T (2005) Eco-informatics for decision makers: advancing a research agenda. In: Paper presented at the workshop on eco-informatics for resource management decision makers, Olympia, Washington, 13–15 December 2004Google Scholar
- Fong BL, Hansen DB (2012) Engaging research groups: rethinking information literacy for graduate students. Issues Sci Technol Librariansh Fall(71). doi: 10.5062/F4V122Q6
- Garvey WD (1979) Communication, the essence of science: facilitating information exchange among librarians, scientists, engineers, and students. Pergamon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Groombridge B, Jenkins M (1998) Freshwater Biodiversity: a preliminary global assessment. World Conservation Monitoring Centre, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Heidorn PB (2001) A tool for multipurpose use of online flora and fauna: the biological information browsing environment (BIBE). First Monday 6(2–5)Google Scholar
- Jones SA (2010) Southeast regional assessment project. United States Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey. http://serap.er.usgs.gov. Accessed 22 Nov 2013
- Kopytko N, Cushing JB, Zeman L, Stevenson-Molnar N, Martin F, Keeley ES (2009) Making ecology research results useful for resource management: a case study in visual analytics. In: Paper presented at the proceedings of the 10th annual international conference on digital government research: social networks: making connections between citizens, data and governmentGoogle Scholar
- Schiller A, Hunsaker CT, Kane MA (2001) Communicating ecological indicators to decision makers and the public. Conserv Ecol 5(1):19Google Scholar
- Smith RK, Freeman PL, Higgins JV, Wheaton KS, FitzHugh TW, Ernstrom KJ, Das AA (2002) Priority areas of freshwater conservation action: a biodiversity assessment of the southeastern United States. The Nature Conservancy, ArlingtonGoogle Scholar
- Stein BA, Kutner LS, Adams JS (eds) (2000) Precious heritage: the status of biodiversity in the United States. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Tenopir C, Allard S, Davis M (2011a) Understanding the data management needs and data sharing challenges of environmental scientists. In: Paper presented at the environmental information management conference, Santa Barbara, CA, 28–29 SeptemberGoogle Scholar
- U.S. Geological Survey (2011a) About USGS. Department of Interior. http://www.usgs.gov/aboutusgs/. Accessed 14 June 2011
- U.S. Geological Survey (2011b) Core science systems. US Department of Interior. http://www.usgs.gov/core_science_systems/. Accessed 21 June 2011
- Vaughan HH, Waide RB, Maass JM, Ezcurra E (2007) Developing and delivering scientific information in response to emerging needs. Front Ecol Environ 5(4):w8–w11Google Scholar