The Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) is working on a national strategy to preserve, revise and develop natural history collections in Switzerland. The aim of the workshop is to discuss a draft of a basic report on the significance, state and challenges of natural history collections in Switzerland as well as proposed measures for a Swiss-wide initiative.
The Natural History Museums in Switzerland store biological and geological collections of very high scientific, but also economic and social value. The museums have the task of preserving and maintaining this valuable scientific and cultural asset, but are often forced with their limited financial resources to make only very limited investment for the collection property.
The initiative "Global Biodiversity Information Facility Switzerland" in the long term aims to register all specimens of botanical, paleontological and zoological collections of Museums, conservatories and botanical gardens in Switzerland. Observational data of all faunistic, floristic and cryptogamic databases are to be collected and the compilation made accessible via a unique national platform, the Swiss GBIF node. At the present time, GBIF.ch has created the infrastructure to digitally register collection specimens and feed them into the international data network. Various projects have been carried out and approximately 1.2 million specimens are digitally recorded. In addition, GBIF.ch has promoted the inventorying of all collections in Switzerland initiated by the Academy of Natural Sciences (SCNAT) at meta level, which provides a basis for an initial assessment of the condition and value of the individual collections in detail. It will be a national joint task to define a national revision and development strategy for the collection property in Switzerland.
The Academy of Sciences invites the institutions involved to work together to develop a coordinated and science-friendly approach to making the collections accessible to research and improving their quality.