In a ground breaking project called MaNIS (Mammal Networked Information System), the Burke Museum, along with 16 other North American research institutions, is collaborating to create a single electronic network that allows simultaneous access to their mammal collection databases. This means that records of geographic locality(including latitude and longitude) are available for nearly a million museum specimens. This information can be used to enhance conservation and research initiatives, both locally and globally.This store of important data will ultimately provide scientists, resource managers, public health officials and the general public with access to information on millions of natural history specimens with the click of a mouse button.
Prior to development of the MaNIS network, information housed in each of the institutions was trapped in hand-written ledgers or individual databases inaccessible to the World Wide Web and millions of potential users. Now anyone can access information that formerly required weeks, months, or years to assemble.
Easy access to this information is crucial for:
The MaNIS project represents the vanguard of a new paradigm among natural history museums. Only through data sharing can the value of these extensive collections provide maximum benefit to society. Because research collections in museums and universities are the authoritative source of knowledge about the identity, relationships, and properties of species on this planet, harnessing this accumulated knowledge is fundamental to sustaining global biological systems for the benefit of all.
The development of MaNIS is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation to the Burke Museum at the University of Washington and the other participating universities and museums. A list of participating institutions, links to supporting documents, and links to active data portals can be found on the MaNIS website.
To go directly to the joint MaNIS database click below
MaNISdatabase portal: http://manisnet.org/
MaNIS represents the first implementation of a distributed database using Distributed Generic Information Retrieval (DiGIR). DiGIR is a solution that can be easily adapted not only by all natural history data networks, but also by data providers in any discipline. DiGIR provides a mechanism to create a virtual museum encompassing the entire tree of life on a global scale.