VertNet IPT

VertNet uses the Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT) to host published biodiversity data on the VertNet IPT for its participating institutions. Are you an aspiring VertNet data publisher but are unsure about IPT and your hosting options? Take a look at answers to frequently asked questions, below.

The IPT is a free, open source web application designed to publish primary occurrence data, species checklists and taxonomies, and associated dataset metadata available for use on the Internet. Data are published as web-based Darwin Core Archives (simple ZIP files that contain tab-delimited or comma-separated text files organized using the Darwin Core Standard). The IPT is used by a growing number of data portals and aggregators globally. It was developed and is maintained by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) with significant support from the broad informatics community, including VertNet.

To learn more about the IPT, it’s key features, and technical attributes, please visit GBIF’s IPT page.
VertNet can either host your data on our IPT, or you can host it yourself with VertNet support. The VertNet-hosted option eliminates the need for you to maintain a server. Hosting your own IPT would allow your institution to publish more than vertebrate records, but VertNet can do that for you as well. In either case, you retain control over all of your data (see #6 below). To help you decide, please take a look at the simple flowchart we’ve put together. Whatever you choose, members of the VertNet team will help you to get everything set up and ready to go.
In most cases, installation times will range from a few hours to a few days — depending upon your availability, the availability of a VertNet team member to assist you, and the complexity of your data.

We will work with you to verify that you are able to extract your data, that your data are properly mapped to the Darwin Core Standard, and that you update the metadata associated with your publishable data set(s). We will ensure that VertNet, GBIF, and others have access to your data set(s) from your self-hosted IPT.
If VertNet hosts your data on our IPT instance, there is no additional work on your part required to maintain a server or other equipment.

If you host your own IPT instance, there will be routine maintenance on your part to assure the proper operation of the server on which your IPT resides as well as occassional updates to the IPT software.

In either hosting scenario, you will continue to manage your data locally. It is up to you update the data set(s) if you are self-hosting your IPT instance, as often as you choose. If your data are hosted on the VertNet IPT instance, you simply need to provide the data set via the protocols we establish with you. We will discuss these options with you when we work together to publish your data in VertNet.
If VertNet hosts your data on our IPT instance, you will not need any special hardware, servers, or software. You only need to export data from your database into a text file.

If you host your own IPT instance, you will need the free IPT software plus a stable, dedicated server computer, using a publicly available internet address, that can be accessed persistently by VertNet to collect your data. Server preparation details are availalbe on the IPT wiki.
You decide what to publish and how often you update your data set(s). VertNet does not claim any ownership of your data. You will have the opportunity to apply any waivers and terms of use to your data set(s) prior to publication — a VertNet team member will discuss this with you when we begin your transition to IPT.

Data for an entire organization can be published in one data set, or in data sets specific to independently curated collections. From the perspective of VertNet, we prefer that records from vertebrates are independent of records from other taxa. When we begin working with you to publish via IPT, we will discuss the details of the best way to accommodate the needs of your organization.
Yes, now would be a great time to integrate your repatriated data back into your database. This will guarantee that your data are as useful and up-to-date as possible. A member of the VertNet team can discuss the best workflow to complete this process.
The expectations for participation in the VertNet data portal remain the same as they have been since MaNIS was created in 2001.

As a VertNet data publisher you are making a commitment to:
  • Maintain an accessible repository of high-quality specimen data.
  • Provide terms of use for these publicly accessible data.
  • Provide accompanying metadata about the collection.
  • Register your organization and data resources with GBIF so that users, search engines and portals can locate your data access point.
We will help maintain your existing DiGIR provider until we launch the new VertNet publishing systems. Once we are confident that the new network is providing equivalent or improved services over those provided by the current networks, we will notify you. At that time, you may disable the DiGIR provider.
Yes, your data will be available and searchable via the VertNet and GBIF data portals. We will harvest the data from the appropriate IPT instance and make it available for visualization and analysis, just as we do right now. The classic networks (MaNIS/HerpNET/ORNIS) portals will continue to serve your data until May 2014, at which time they will no longer be maintained. FishNet will continue to provide service to the community into the foreseable future.

If you serve your data to other data portals, and those portals can harvest data from an IPT, your data will continue to be available via those services. If those other portals require a DiGIR provider, you will need to continue to maintain your local DiGIR server to continue your connection to those services.