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International Connections

I3N Database graphic
The new I3N database provides a user-friendly, open source solution allowing nations in the Americas and abroad to manage their invasive species data in Spanish, English, or Portuguese.
I3N Begins Distribution of New Invasive Species Database

The Invasives Information Network (I3N) of the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) creates and makes freely available tools for invasive species information management in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The I3N Database on Invasive Alien Species, and its corresponding Web Template, were the first tools created by the I3N and form the foundation of the network's information management system. Originally released in Microsoft Access format in 2006, the network recently completed an update and redesign of the I3N Database template to make it available in Open Source format (MySQL).

Updates were based on user feedback over the last 5 years and include, for example, fields relevant to aquatic and marine invasive alien species, as well as a specific field for results of national risk assessments. The new format of the template will also be compatible with a wider variety of Web servers. The I3N hopes that this will encourage more countries to establish national databases. Eleven countries in Latin America already have national databases online available through the I3N Web site using the Microsoft Access version of the template. These country databases are in the process of being updated to the Open Source format of the I3N Database Template and the PHP-based Web Template.

The I3N Database template was designed to comply with the Dublin Core and Darwin Core Metadata Standards, suggests the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) as a taxonomic authority, and incorporates standardized vocabulary for habitat terminology developed by NatureServe. The template allows database owners to export their invasive alien species records in the widely accepted Extensible Markup Language (XML). The template is also delivered with built-in functionality for generating XML-tagged species fact sheets, and for producing trilingual reports consisting of detailed or summary species lists, projects, and contacts from the database.

Both the I3N Database and Web templates are now freely available with associated standards and instruction manuals by visiting the I3N Web site at

IABIN Holds Executive Committee Meeting, Unveils New Version of IABIN Catalog

IABIN recently held a meeting of its Executive Committee and network leads in Costa Rica. Country representatives and NGOs from throughout the Americas reviewed the progress of the network, discussed the future of IABIN, and set goals for fundraising and technical integration. The Executive Committee also decided upon a final spending and implementation plan for the few months remaining in the Global Environment Facility project currently providing base funding for IABIN activities. USGS, which has held the Chair of IABIN since the network's inception over 10 years ago, informed attendees that, in the interest of fostering new leadership for IABIN, it will step down from its role as Chair following a new election among all 34 IABIN member countries later this year. USGS plans to remain involved in IABIN as the U.S. Focal Point and continue involvement in IABIN's Invasive Species and Pollinators-focused activities and continue leading development of the IABIN Catalog, IABIN's search engine.

Based upon feedback received during the meeting, USGS also recently completed an improved version of the Catalog. Based on the same Vivisimo technology underpinning Raptor, the NBII search engine, the new tool integrates a trilingual version of the NBII Biocomplexity Thesaurus translated with IABIN funds, and will provide access to thousands of resources throughout IABIN's many Web sites and projects.

For additional information, please contact Ben Wheeler at