Biodiversity Services and Clients

The aim of the Biodiversity Services Interest Group (BSCI) is to assess usefulness of existing biodiversity web service infrastructures from the perspective of integrating software applications such as workflow environments, discuss and agree upon common principles for API design, stability and documentation, encourage registration of useful Web services in a well-founded, well-known community directory i.e. BiodiversityCatalogue, produce documentation including background material, guidelines and best practices. The group will actively collaborate with projects and initiatives with similar aims (e.g. BioVeL, GFBio, LifeWatch, Kurator). Members will actively promote the findings in external conferences and workshops and encourage service developers to adopt agreed upon API principles and to document and advertise services in joint registry systems.

Image by Thomas Kvistholt


  • Falko Glöckler - Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung, Berlin, Germany
  • Anton Güntsch - Freie Universität Berlin, Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem, Berlin, Germany
  • James Macklin - Botany and Biodiversity Informatics, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Core members


The aim of the Biodiversity Services and Clients Interest Group (BSCI) is to promote improved interoperability of biodiversity web services through common service API design principles, recognition of the needs of client systems, harmonized and machine-readable service documents, and a joint service registration system for promotion and discovery purposes as well as service monitoring. Over the last 15 years, the biodiversity informatics community underwent a fundamental technological shift from database-driven, human-readable web portals to service infrastructures for machine-to-machine communication. However, many of the new service layers have been designed in isolation and were not conceived as standardised and reliable functional units in a global biodiversity service-oriented infrastructure.

The Interest Group will continuously assess the biodiversity service infrastructure landscape and coordinate a harmonisation process for service APIs and their documentation. An important focus will be the analysis of criteria for service usability in integrating systems (e.g. workflow environments such as Kepler and Taverna), stability and versioning of service APIs, as well as semantic interoperability.

Becoming involved

The BSCI group is open to all interested parties. Members should actively participate in group discussions and be willing to apply results of the harmonisation process to analytical tool and data set services they may be providing to international infrastructures. Membership can be requested from the interest group conveners.

History and context

The conveners hosted a Biodiversity Services and Workflow Symposia at the TDWG annual conference in 2013 (Florence) and 2014 (Jönköping) and received a lot of interest from the participants. Both Symposia concluded that improved standardisation and documentation of biodiversity informatics services is urgently needed to avoid uncoordinated development of service APIs worldwide and to enable the development of a new generation of data-driven research platforms and workflows. The participants agreed that a concerted approach in the form of a TDWG interest group would carry forward the process effectively.


  • Products and outcome at
  • TDWG Slack channel #developers
  • BSCI homepage, wiki, and document repository will be made available via the TDWG website