TERMS OF REFERENCE
INTEGRATED SEARCH CATALOG SERVICE FOR IABIN
Executing Agency: General Secretariat of the Organization of American
Project: Building the Interamerican Biodiversity Information
Duration of the consultancy: 3 Years
Type of consultancy: Individual consultant
The Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) was officially mandated
at the Summit of the Americas on Sustainable Development, convened by the
Organization of American States (OAS) in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, in December
1996. IABIN is an Internet-based forum for technical and scientific cooperation that
seeks to promote greater coordination among Western Hemisphere countries in the
collection, sharing, and use of biodiversity information relevant to decision-making and
education, as well as supporting similar international initiatives such as the Global
Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), Convention on Biological Diversity Clearing
House Mechanism (CHM), etc.
IABIN is composed of 5 Thematic Networks:
• Species and Specimens Thematic Network
• Ecosystems Thematic Network
• Invasive Species Thematic Network
• Pollinators Thematic Network
• Protected Areas Thematic Network
These thematic networks will be integrated with a Catalog System and Geo-Spatial
The integration and dissemination of biodiversity information will be achieved through
leading-edge technologies available via the Internet and distributed databases that will
feed the IABIN portal, www.iabin.net.
IABIN has successfully formed partnerships within the Americas as its network has
evolved. The network is now at the stages of beginning formal implementation through
its significant support from numerous partners. These partnerships have laid the
foundation for providing access to the tremendous amounts of biodiversity related data
and information contained within its network. As IABIN is continuing to mature as a
network, the capabilities to provide seamless access to this vast amount of information
are necessary and critical to its success. One of the significant areas where this function
will occur is through the IABIN Catalog.
Currently, IABIN information is held by multiple institutions, in varying formats, and is
often available only within the country which has produced and maintains the
information. The need for this information, when appropriate, to be available throughout
the IABIN network to other participating countries and partners, is paramount to IABIN
and its Thematic Networks succeeding as a network on a regional and global scale.
A major function of the IABIN Catalog is to provide a “single” search and retrieval
interface for IABIN metadata and other related content. To date, IABIN has been
providing this function through a partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey National
Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII). The NBII and IABIN have jointly worked
to customize the NBII BioBot search tool to meet IABIN basic search and retrieval
needs. Considerable work is needed to enhance the BioBot search tool to meet the needs
of the IABIN Catalog and provide a gateway into IABIN Thematic network information.
Currently, the NBII BioBot, shown below, has significant English based capabilities in
terms of retrieval and the presentation of information. As a biodiversity-focused search
engine, BioBot searches and retrieves biological resources from thousands of data
providers by means of
1. Allowing users to enter search terms or phrases
2. Expanding this term or phrase via the NBII Thesaurus, which contains 15,000 English
biodiversity-related terms and relationships
3. Retrieving results from structured (compliant with existing metadata standards) and
unstructured (full-text) data and information sources
4. Presenting those results in an organized method for easy viewing and sorting
Figure 1: User search interface (i.e., search for resources for “Brazil”)
Figure 2: Search Results presented in organized resource types (i.e., journals, maps, tools, etc.)
BioBot’s thesaurus provides extensive functionality for users seeking to retrieve
additional, English only, resources through the use of related, narrow, and broader terms.
For instance, if a user provides a query term of “invasive species”, all relevant records
that may or may not have the explicit term “invasive species” but contain “alien or non-
native species” will also be returned. However, the multi-lingual aspects of retrieving
and presenting information, to a variety of audiences require additional resources to
This will be accomplished through the following process:
1. A separate consultancy under the IABIN Catalog will develop multilingual content in
IABIN’s official languages of Spanish and Portuguese to build upon the current
BioBot Thesaurus, which contains 15,000 biodiversity-related English terms. All
code developed in this process will be modular in nature so that additional languages
and terminology may be added as required.
2. The thesaurus consultant will then provide the completed multilingual content for
integration with the IABIN BioBot.
3. The IABIN BioBot consultant will perform the technical integration of the
multilingual content. Additional details are explained in tasks below.
The IABIN BioBot is envisioned to add these capabilities, as well as additional
functionalities as defined in this ToR.
Figure 3: NBII Thesaurus, showing broader, narrower and related terms for “invasive species”
The current NBII BioBot, which is also being used by IABIN, searches approximately
600,000 documents, datasets, publications, images, maps, and additional resource types.
This information is primarily based on NBII scope, priorities, and partner contributions.
This consultancy, to create the IABIN BioBot, will expand and focus the NBII BioBot for
specific IABIN network priorities, relevant information to the Americas, and provide
access to partner country data/information.
4. Scope of the consultancy
The consultant will be responsible for technical guidance, software development, and
technical support to the USGS NBII, IABIN Secretariat, and the IABIN TWG. To
support this, considerable activities need to be undertaken within this agreement in terms
of multi-lingual user interface creation, multi-lingual thesaurus integration, the ability to
search on common species names in multiple languages, provide improved access to
IABIN Focal Point and country resources, and the necessary process/systems to support
the overall operation of the IABIN BioBot.
Provide an integrated, customized, multi-lingual search tool for IABIN, to be termed
“IABIN BioBot”, which will build upon data and information made available through
IABIN’s Thematic Networks, the current NBII BioBot, and other sources.
1. Based on technical direction provided by the USGS NBII and the IABIN Secretariat
staff, provide software customization of the NBII BioBot Search and Retrieval tools, in
support of IABIN BioBot development.
Technical supervision and facilitation of this consultancy will be provided by the
Technical Coordinator at USGS NBII, as the Coordinating Institution for the Catalog
Service and the IABIN Secretariat staff.
It is intended for this position to be located directly with the USGS NBII in Reston,
Virginia, Denver, Colorado or Oak Ridge, Tennessee, depending on the highest qualified
candidate selected. Relocation costs to Reston, Denver or Oak Ridge will not be paid by
GS/OAS, and NBII, GS/OAS or IABIN will not assist any applicants to obtain work
permits in the U.S. Office space needed by the consultant will be provided at either
Reston, Denver or Oak Ridge, and NBII personnel proficient in the development and
technical capacities of BioBot will be available to help familiarize the consultant with the
existing BioBot search engine and provide any other needed support.
1. At the beginning of the contract, the consultant selected will need to spend
approximately one week in Denver, Colorado to fully understand the current
capabilities and technical aspects of the NBII BioBot and IABIN initiative. Travel
costs for this period will not be absorbed by the consultant.
2. Following this initial period, various in-person meetings of the NBII and IABIN
technical staff will occur to refine the overall work plan, review progress, and resolve
3. On-line meetings, via web-based video conferences and Skype will also be held to
support project activities.
It is expected that, at certain times throughout this consultancy, there will be periods
where the consultant will be awaiting related IABIN products that will be necessary for
further progress on this effort. For this reason, it is anticipated that a full-time resource
will not be required to support this effort. By utilizing a part-time consultancy, the funds
available can be used to support system modifications as the overall products are being
implemented within the IABIN network. For instance, system and user interface reviews
can be performed by IABIN partners while the consultant is not directly charging to the
project. The consultant selected will provide a work plan where activities, tasks and time
needed to produce these deliverables will be identified. This will be produced in
collaboration with the Technical Coordinator at NBII and the IABIN Secretariat, and will
provide further details on scheduling, in order to maximize the resources available and
ensure completion in a timely manner.
Contract administration and payments will be performed by GS/OAS, assuming
acceptance of products by USGS NBII and IABIN Secretariat.
4. Products to be generated
The products that are to be generated through this consultancy are:
Product 1: Multilingual IABIN BioBot Search Tool including software code,
on-line help, and technical documentation (English only).
Product 2: Integration of the multi-lingual Thesaurus capabilities into the
Product 3: Software code/scripts for delivering relevant, subsetted IABIN
BioBot results on Focal Points, Thematic Networks, country and
Special considerations for the products:
The products and tools developed under this consultancy must be compatible with and
build upon existing BioBot capabilities, technologies, and standards. This is to insure
compatibility, effective use of limited IABIN resources, and continue the success of the
BioBot Search tool in meeting IABIN partner and user needs.
General tasks to be undertaken during all years of the consultancy:
1: Prepare a work plan of activities to be carried out under the consultancy (within
one month of initial contract signing, and by October 30 in subsequent years).
2: Provide ongoing status reports related to deliverables and participate in
coordination meetings with the CI and IABIN Secretariat.
3: Participate in IABIN Technical Working Group meetings as it relates to
the IABIN BioBot. No travel costs will be absorbed by the consultant to attend
Tasks to be carried out by the consultant are identified below by the year in which they
will be completed
The tasks to be carried out by the consultant for Year 1 are:
4. Modify existing NBII BioBot Search user interface and results interface to include:
a. Multiple languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese)
b. IABIN banner, footer, disclaimer, and other relevant style guidelines
c. Results in all three languages through the use of organized folders. An
initial prototype design of this structure is displayed below (with results
for the search term “Brazil”):
Figure 3: Example of folders displaying search results. Java code exists for
this initial prototype.
5. Search IABIN Thematic Network sites + “main” IABIN site. This includes the
a. Search box script on all pages for IABIN TNs.
6. Modify existing NBII BioBot Thesaurus function by providing the software
capability within the IABIN BioBot to support the use of an IABIN-specific
Thesaurus. This includes the integration of Thesaurus content developed by the
IABIN Thesaurus Consultant. It is anticipated that this task will begin three months
following the award of the Thesaurus Consultancy.
7. Develop software code/scripts for delivering relevant, subsetted IABIN BioBot
results on Focal Points, Thematic Networks, country and other websites. This will be
distributed free of charge to all IABIN partners.
8. Develop technical documentation in English on system configuration, modifications,
and IABIN BioBot components.
9. Integrate an online help function to assist users in using the IABIN BioBot and
answer FAQs. This will be required to be in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
10. Provide maintenance and technical support for the IABIN BioBot search interface,
and various components.
11. Develop software code to expand user search terms for:
a. Common species names In 3 languages (English, Spanish and
Portuguese), via existing Web Services from ITIS, Species 2000 and the
Catalogue of Life.
i. For example, if a user were to search for “shrimp”, the IABIN
BioBot would return results for “shrimp”, “camarón” and
“camarão” in a user-defined view. This capability will be
available for all species for which multilingual taxonomic data
exists in ITIS, Species 2000, the Catalogue of Life or other
multilingual taxonomic authorities.
b. Common phrases (ie. Publication-publicaciones-publicação) to aid
searching in 3 languages. This control list will be provided by the Catalog
12. Develop advanced search interface based on the requirements provided by the CI for
the Catalog, including search by IABIN TN:
d. Protected Areas
g. Combination of All
13. Participate in usability testing of advanced User Interface and implement results
based on CI guidance.
14. Develop the capability to allow users to download search results for further
15. Assist Coordinating Institutions of IABIN’s Thematic Networks to develop the
processes and scripts to allow TNs to expose data to IABIN BioBot. This includes
developing methods for Tapir, XML, and Web Service based content provided from
16. Provide maintenance and technical support for the IABIN BioBot search interface,
and various components.
17. Develop software code to expand user search terms for:
a. Multilingual Gazetteer (a geographical dictionary containing information
on the geographical makeup of a country, region or continent, the social
statistics and physical features, such as mountains, waterways, or roads)
ii. Search places (3 Lang.)
iii. UNIV, Natural Park. PA, NGO
iv. View Results on Map (the CI is developing a prototype application
to allow this)
18. Provide maintenance and technical support for the IABIN BioBot search interface,
and various components.
6. Selection Criteria
An individual consultant will be chosen through a competitive process based on the
consultant’s qualifications and the criteria established below. The selection will be
carried out by the Technical Coordinator at USGS NBII, the IABIN Secretariat, and
The consultant shall be fluent in English, written and spoken. Knowledge of Spanish is
The criteria that will be used for selection are the following:
o At least 5 years experience in Java programming (Java Server Faces)
o At least 5 years experience in the use of xml
o CVS experience
o Extensive work with Microsoft SQL server
o Web service experience of both exposing and consuming services
o Knowledge of portal products for delivering national and international
biological data and information
o Plumtree/BEA portal experience (Desired)
• Academic background.
o BS degree in computer science (programming)
o JSR168 portlet development experience (Desired)
o Object Relational Mapping (Hibernate) (Desired)
o Ability to work with others by both sharing code and sharing expertise.
The consultant should be eligible to work in the United States or hold a valid working
authorization. The USGS or GS/OAS will not process any working authorization. This
position does not include re-location costs.
7. Period of the consultancy
This consultancy has a period of up to three years, depending on the successful delivery
of the products established for Year One of the contract. The first period will begin on
the date of signature of the contract. This position should include some travel, which will
be funded by OAS separately from this contract.
The consultant shall not have any title, patent, or other proprietary rights in any document
or software developed with funds provided by GS/OAS under this consultancy. All such
rights shall lie with GS/OAS. The Consultant shall deliver such documents and software
to the GS/OAS at the end of the consultancy. All work shall comply with the IABIN
access to information and intellectual property regulation found on www.iabin.net.
9. Payments and delivery of Products
Maximum compensation for the contract is US150,000.00. The initial year of the contract
will not exceed $74,500, with year two not to exceed $50,500 and year three not to
exceed $25,000 in payments. The payments for the first year will be according to the
following schedule and successful completion of the tasks outlined above.
1. Upon completion and approval by the CI and IABIN Secretariat of a work plan, and
summary report of their training with the USGS/NBII for the consultancy, the
consultant will receive an initial payment of $10,000
2. Upon completion of a software development methodology plan and approval of this
plan by the CI and IABIN Secretariat, the consultant will receive a second payment of
3. Upon delivery of an approved Alpha version of the IABIN BioBot to the CI, IABIN
Secretariat and IABIN IT TWG, the consultant will receive a third payment of
4. Upon delivery of the publicly available IABIN BioBot, including completion of all
above defined tasks for year 1 and delivery of all products for year 1 and upon
approval of the CI, IABIN Secretariat and IABIN IT TWG, the consultant will
receive the final payment of $29,800.
World Bank procurement processes and guidelines are applicable to this award and
Candidates interested in this consultancy will send his/her resume in English to: Richard
Huber at GS/OAS, firstname.lastname@example.org, with copy to Mike Frame, U.S. Geological
Survey/NBII, email@example.com, and Boris Ramirez, IABIN Technical Secretariat,
firstname.lastname@example.org, before Thursday, February 1st ,2007.