International Symposium
"Data Retrieval Systems in Biodiversity Research"

St. Petersburg, Russia, May 22 - 28, 1999


Electronic Publications: Databases in Internet, CD-ROM & Multimedia


Multimedia tools in electronic zoological and botanical publications

Modern forms of electronic publications - manuals on CD-Roms and WWW-sites - are similar in the multimedia technology because they operate color images, sound- and video-segments. Main difference of these two ways is that the CD-ROMs has the limited but large information volume with an instnataneous access to its different parts whereas the Internet publications have no restrictions in information volume but according to the capabilities of the most communication channels their transferred data portions have to be minimized. Therefore the focus of the Interenet information systems development is an optimization of queries to server. More diverse tools to operate the biological information are used in CD-ROM publication. Here is proposed the CD-ROM publications classification based on two characters: the main type of the information presentation and the way of interconnection of separate information blocks. Three classes of CD-ROM publications were established, namely systems based on 1) hypertext; 2) hyper-image; 3) hyper-database. For each type examples of publications and the type disadvantages were analyzed. New conception of the publications belonging to the hyper-databases class was worked out and some program tools were described which developed by us and used in CD-ROMs issued in numerous copies. Support: RFBR, grants 96-07-89086 and 99-07-90315.

Zoological Institute RAS, St. Petersburg, Russia, E-mail


Access to database GNOM via Internet: on the basis of a simple technology

Some non-standard method was chosen to arrange the Internet access to the database on generic nomenclature of the family Umbelliferae of the World. The method works as follows. A special program-converter generates wanted number of files, depicting actual database state in HTML language. One can call it quasi-DBMS, with user's right to obtain fragments of electronic monograph. This method demands to update WWW-site regularly, because the base data are subject to change. But the process can be totally automated. Visitors of our GNOM Homepage ( browsing the genus names list (including synonyms), can easily get full taxonomic information on necessary genus. Our WWW-site is in a state of permanent improvement, this is why number and form of presentation requests to GNOM Homepage vary due to running of time and realization of user's wishes. As a rule, these changes are not laborious due to simplicity of software tools. Advantage of the method for computer-advanced botanists (at any ordinary stage of development of computer technologies) is that they can continuously participate in presenting their data in computerized form (due to HTML simplicity). We suggest that this approach is optimal for botanist and zoologists, going to publish their databases in Internet. Support: RFBR, grant 98-07-90090.

Moscow State University, Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics, Moscow, 119899 Russia. Tel. 095 939 5633, Fax 095 939 2596, E-mail


The software "Virtual Herbarium"

The virtual herbarium is a herbarium type that can be reproduced on the computer screen; it is a set of the high quality computer images created from real herbarium specimens and included in a graphic database. The special software "Virtual Herbaium" has been developed in 1998-99. The software on Windows 95/98/NT combines graphic images of a high resolution, a database of herbarium labels, options for search of specimens and taxa using combined queries and a minimal tool for botanical work with the reproduced plant images. The software database allows to apply the combined queries in 15 fields of the herbarium labels dB, as well as queries by accepted family, generic or species names. A result of a query is a set of the collection specimens images which are 2.5 times larger then originals. The botanical tools include the reference directory "Handwritings of collectors in the LE Herbarium" and a "dynamic ruler" to measure morphological details of a plant specimen directly on its image.

Herbarium, Komarov Botanical Institute RAS , Prof. Popova st., 2, St. Petersburg 197376, Russia,
Tel. (812) 234-84-58, Fax (812) 234-45-12, E-mail


Internet database: Rare disappearing species of plants in Kopetdagh

Database contains information on 67 rare disappearing species of Kopetdagh belonging to 34 families (Kamakhina et al., 1997,, 6 Mb, Win 95). Base of experimental databank is formed by a nomenclature block consisting of separate independent undersystem blocks. Latin and Russian name according to S. Cherepanov (without synonyms), regional status of species for given geographical units, short description, its distribution within Kopetdagh (without references to the herbarium samples), local number, main limiting factors, particularities of biology, measures of conservation and source information are given. Block is supported by graphic image (from publications) and a map of sites in subregion (but without link to coordinates). Blocks are filled by information from published and original data using the text format (hypertext). Searching is ensured in any databank field, browsing the taxonomic name lists, images or distribution maps. Material is synthesized interactively at time of query. Database is an electronic version of the regional Red Book with 5 groups of local species having Extinct or Endangered status. Probably 15 species have fallen out of the composition of modern Turkmenistan flora. Conservation of any species foresees a conservation of florocoenotypes biodiversity in Kopetdagh. Support: program "Seeds of democracy" - ISAR.

Ecology club Catena (NGO), St. Ashkhabad 744000 Turkmenistan. Tel. (3632) 441016, 473285, E-mail


Electronic publications of books and articles of Lepidoptera

On the base of common packages MS Word 97, PageMaker 6, Adobe Photoshop 5.0, CorelDraw! 8 the electronic version of K. Lampert “Atlas of butterflies and caterpillars of Euope and Russian-Asiatic territories (partially)” (4888 p. + 100 color tables), St. Petersburg, 1913, was created, with minimum requirements Windows’95, P-100, 16 Mb RAM, CD-ROM (4). Electronic library of Oeneis č Erebia (Lepidoptera, Satyridae) articles is under preparation.

Institute of Biology, Komi Scientific Centre RAS, Ural Division, Syktyvkar, 167000 Russia, Tel. (8212)431969, Fax (8212) 420163,


Information retrieval system for Internet

The system is intended for search of the biological information in the Internet. The program is designed to execute functions of producing hypertext information base of biological resources, of information filling and expert information retrieval in base on a broad spectrum of tags. There is a possibility of "approximate" information retrieval, expert analysis of inquiries. System can also be applied to construction of specialized botanical and zoological directories, for implementation of search within the framework of the corporate network, with one server and even with a separate software products. System is realized for the common network platforms (UNIX, Windows 95/NT) and works under WEB-server supporting CGI and Perl.

Northern Regional Information - Analytic Center, B. Sankt-Petersburgskaya 41, aud. 3210, Novgorod, 173003, Russia, Phone / Fax +7 (81622) 2-03-23, E-mail, WWW


Digitization of Spegazzini's drawings of type specimens

Carlos Spegazzini, the great pioneer of Latin American mycology collected and named more than five thousand species of fungi. The types of these taxa are in the Herbarium of the Institute named after him in La Plata, Argentina. Although Spegazzini almost never published any illustrations of his fungi, he did make beautiful, accurate and detailed pencil drawings on the herbarium packets. In many cases where the original material was very scanty, the drawings are all that remains. These are now in danger of deterioration, and the present project aims to digitize them, to produce a CD ROM. To date, more than 60% of the ascomycete drawings have been scanned and edited, and a detailed database of the names, with places of publication, has been compiled. Production of the CD-ROM is expected to be complete in late 1999.

1 Instituto de Botanica "C. Spegazzini", Museo de La Plata, 53 No 477, La Plata 1900, Argentina
2 Christ's College, Cambridge, UK
3 CABI Bioscience, Bakeham Lane, Egham, Surrey, TW20 9TY, UK