Welcome to the home page of the project Digitizing the CABI Bioscience Fungal Reference Collection (IMI), a Global Resource. This 2-year project, which was supported partly by the DIGIT fund of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, partly by through the Biodiversity Conservation in Cuba project of the UK Darwin Initiative, and partly by CABI, began in January 2004. The background, aims and results of the project are summarized below.

Background. From its inception in 1920 up to 2004, IMI, the CABI Fungal Reference Collection, received over 400,000 specimens from around the world. Information accompanying these specimens constitutes a unique international resource covering distribution of fungi (many of great economic significance, as plant pathogens, mycorrhizal symbionts, antibiotic producers etc) and their associations with other organisms as parasites, commensals, saprobes etc. Since 1989, information about every new accession to the collection has been digitized (about 70,000 records), and up to 2004, collaborating mycologists had digitized 120,000 of about 330,000 earlier records from handwritten accessions books.

Aim. The aim of this project was to digitize the remaining 210,000 records in collaboration with institutions in Cuba and India and, as soon as possible, make key elements of all 400,000 records freely available on the internet both directly and through the GBIF data portal.

Results. The work in India, co-ordinated by Dr P.M. Kirk, resulted in about 65,000 records being digitized. The remaining work was done in Cuba. The project was completed on time and within budget. The IMI collection is now freely searchable by accession number or organism name. Go to the IMI collection website.