The aim of the site is to provide free online access to all the information on the ant species of the world.
- To provide a continuously updated ant systematics authority file, including all valid and invalid ant names (11,000 vs. 20,000) [Done]
- To supplement ant surveys (e.g. as described in Agosti et al. (eds.), 2000, Ants: Standard Methods for Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity. Smithsonian Institution Press; or the South East Asian Ant Network, ANeT) by providing similar to GENBANK a facility to upload and download sample data. [First version up and running]
- To supply other online initiatives such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), Species Information Service (SIS) at the World Conservation Union, or the Integrated Taxonomic Information Facility (IT IS). [Set up; in negotiation]
- To provide access to the entire primary ant systematics literature (ca 4,000 publications and books in ca 800 journals by 533 authors since 1758) [ca 500 online, funding for all >75years requested; finished 2004]
- To provide access to world wide georeferenced distribution data sets of ants of ecological or economic importance [Database set up; first 10,000 records for Afrotropical ants accessible in mid 2002; additional data in progress; Type database available per country]
- To collaborate with FORMIS, the online ant-bibliography with ca 30,000 records of ant publications, to provide optimal access for literature searches. [Ongoing]
- To provide identification aids to the ant taxa of the world, by providing a specific gateway to published identification keys and image in a first phase, and in a second to provide imagery (and complement ongoing web-based initiatives to all the ant species of the world) as well as to develop morphological data sets which can be used in an interactive way. [All keys catalogued; Key-links up in mid 2002; type imaging started, under negotiation; ant images >1,500 online, continuously growing]
- To develop XML mark-up schemes and full text access to OCR-ed documents for optimal data searches (data mining), in collaboration with Tom Moritz, Library, American Museum of Natural History, Bob Morris, University of Massachusetts; Klemens Boehm, Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, and thus explore new ways on how systematics data can be mined and used from other areas such as Genomics. [Preliminary mark available; testing phase ongoing; first applications 2003]
- To foster and support the description and charting of all the ants of the world (ca 20,000 expected). [Ongoing - no target date yet]
- To provide state of the data gateways between systematics and conservation, evo-devo, agriculture or genomics [Available, continuously improved by feed back]
- To pressure for making all the systematics and biodiversity data freely accessible to allow the best possible knowledgebase for research and conservation.