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With support from the National Science Foundation, seventeen North American institutions and their collaborators developed the Mammal Networked Information System.  The original objectives of MaNIS were to 1) facilitate open access to combined specimen data from a web browser, 2) enhance the value of specimen collections, 3) conserve curatorial resources, and 4) use a design paradigm that can be easily adopted by other disciplines with similar needs.  As an NSF-funded initiative, MaNIS has achieved these objectives while avoiding the need for long-term, external maintenance of the network and centralized data management.

As MaNIS faces the future, it is only through expansion of the network, both nationally and internationally, that the real impact of this collaborative effort will be maximized. Participation by other institutions is now welcome and those wishing to join have at their disposal the data standards, software and documentation that were developed for this project. All that is asked of future participants is that they make the same institutional commitment as the original collaborators to maintain their repositories of high-quality specimen collections and make the accompanying data available for the benefit of all.

At the time of its inception, development of MaNIS addressed the urgent call for natural history museums to come together to build and support a biodiversity informatics infrastructure to facilitate and enhance research, education, conservation, and public health. That call has now been answered. It is hoped that continued expansion of the network will allow the preservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in all its complexity as we attempt to address the magnitude of human impacts on the Earth's ecological systems during the 21st century.

REMINDER: VertNet is now transitioning data sets from DiGIR to IPT.

If you share biodiversity data through MaNIS, FishNet, HerpNET, or ORNIS, please visit VertNet's IPT FAQ to select your hosting preference and to learn more about IPT or you can always contact us directly at

2013-10-16 NOTE: the CLASSIC MaNIS PORTAL is undergoing maintenance. Please try the new VertNet Beta Portal. The VertNet portal includes 32 institutions, representing over 2 million transitioned Mammalia specimen, observation and fossil records, with more data sets on the way. Use the Advanced Search to further filter the data.

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John Wieczorek, 27 June 2001
Rev. 16 Oct 2013, LAR
University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, Copyright © 2001-2013, The Regents of the University of California.