The establishment of a biodiversity database is fundamental to the promotion of conservation, education, and biodiversity research. Article 17 of the "Convention on Biological Diversity", which reveals the importance of such a database, requires its contracting parties to facilitate the exchange of biodiversity information by collecting local data on biological diversity and sharing the data with other countries, so that conservation, sustainable usage, management, research and education of biodiversity will be improved and taxonomical capacities can be developed. To meet this requirement, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) was established in 2001 to integrate the worldwide websites and databases on biodiversity. It especially emphasizes the digitization of species lists and specimens, and requires each contracting party to designate a national node as a sole universal portal to facilitate the exchange of biodiversity information.
Although Taiwan’s land is not spacious, it possesses extraordinarily abundant biodiversity resources and many endemic species. To properly manage and utilize these resources, a complete database and a national website for biodiversity must be built in advance in order for the public to easily retrieve all the relevant information. In addition, Article 1 of the "Biodiversity Promotion Plan", approved by Executive Yuan in 2001, requests the establishment of a national information center, an information exchanging mechanism, and databases for biodiversity. Moreover, the digitization of biodiversity information, the integration of local databases in conformance with the international standards, and the establishment of a portal website can help Taiwan integrate domestic and international data once it becomes a part of GBIF.
"TaiBIF" stands for Taiwan Biodiversity Information Facility. It is the Taiwan portal of GBIF, and is in charge of integrating Taiwan's biodiversity information, including lists of species and local experts, illustrations of species, introduction of endemic species and invasive species, Taiwan's terrestrial and marine organisms, biodiversity literature, geographical and environmental information, information about relevant institutions, organizations, projects, and observation spots, the Catalog of Life (a list of Taiwanese endemic species), and publications. Furthermore, Taibif uses DiGIR (Distributed Generic Information Retrieval) with the Darwin Code as its standard to reach the goal of data exchange. TaiBIF’s website is bilingual (Chinese and English) and is online for public use. The web address is http://www.taibif.org.tw/, and visitors are able to access the database through the hyperlinked national node of Taiwan in GBIF as well. More than 144,542 people have browsed the TaiBIF site since July 2004.