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NMNH Central Programs

Catalog of Life
The Catalogue of Life, led by Species 2000, working in partnership with ITIS, is a quality-assured checklist of more than 1.3 million species of plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms, about 70% of all those known to science. COL is designed to provide consistent and reliable information on the taxonomy of biological species. Contact: Thomas Orrell

Consortium for the Barcode of Life
The Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) is an international initiative devoted to developing DNA barcoding as: an accurate and reliable tool for scientific research on the taxonomy of plant and animal species; a practical, cost-effective tool for assigning unidentified specimens to their correct species; and a system for expanding interest and activity in taxonomy. Established in 2004 with the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, CBOL is an alliance of more than 170 institutions (e.g. natural history museums and herbaria), research organizations (e.g. genetic sequencing labs and bioinformatics groups) and private sector partners (e.g. technology developers) rep-resenting over 50 countries who are involved in building specimen-based DNA barcoding resources. The group also includes government agencies that will benefit from the application of rapid species identification. Contact: David Schindel

Global Biodiversity Information Facility
Established by governments in 2001 to encourage free and open access to biodiversity data, via the Internet, GBIF is global network of 57 countries and 47 organizations that promotes and facilitates the mobilization, access, discovery and use of information about the occurrence of organisms over time and across the planet. Contact: Thomas Orrell

Integrated Taxonomic Information System
The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) provides authoritative taxonomic information on more than 632,000 accepted scientific names, synonyms, and common names for terrestrial, marine, and freshwater species from all biological kingdoms. It presents the names in a standard classification that contains author, date, geographic (native vs. non-native), and bibliographic information related to the names. The system focuses on global species, with an emphasis on North America, and is accessible via the World Wide Web in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Through ITIS, users can access the current scientific names of organisms and synonyms. ITIS is a standard reference for taxonomic information that facilitates biological data sharing and biological inventory, monitoring, and research. The ITIS database is made available for broad, continual use by government agencies, scientists, and the public by linking an advanced relational database to Web technology, tools, and services. Contact: Thomas Orrell