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Bibliographic Search

United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Coastal Program

The Coastal Program of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has initiated a new program for Hawai‘i and the Pacific Islands during FY 2000. This program is directed at forming partnerships that will identify and conserve important coastal resources. The first step in the process is the ability to locate and synthesize all existing information on coastal resources and conservation issues.

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Electronic Bibliography with Geographic Information System Linkage: Pilot Project for the Island of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i

The Problem:

As managers and scientists address fundamental questions concerning the past, present and future status of Pacific marine environments, there is a critical need for access to the scientific literature and the data upon which it is based. Compiling and synthesizing available information is a vital first step in resolving any problem in environmental management. Currently, there is no simple cost-effective method that provides the ability to identify all data and literature dealing with a specific geographic location or multi-variable problem involving ecosystems in Hawai‘i and the US Pacific. In addition, there is no standardized mechanism in place to archive and preserve many of these documents for future research. This is particularly true for coral reefs. Possible solutions to the problem have been discussed for years, but the task of bringing existing bibliographic information into a common accessible data base has been beyond the capability of any single agency.

The Partnership:

A Database Project partnership was formed in August 2000 as a component of the NMFS Coastal Program administered by Craig Rowland, Conservation Partnerships Coordinator, USFWS, Pacific Islands Ecoregion. This project is directed at development of a Geographic Information System (GIS) based bibliographic and information database. Each of these partners brings essential components of the cooperative program to the project:

Dave Coleman of UH Hamilton Library serves as project Principal Investigator and brings extensive knowledge in all project areas and expertise on the bibliographic database component.

Chris Swenson, Coastal Program Coordinator and Naomi Bentivoglio, Biologist of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Ecoregion, direct the project. Kevin Foster, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, is instrumental in the management of the Marine Ecosystem Geographic Information System Program.

Dave Eckert, Aquatic Biologist with the Dept of Land and Natural Resources (Div of Aquatic Resources) serves as contact with the State, conveying resource management needs.


Steve Coles (Bishop Museum and Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology) will be involved in the integration of an extensive database being maintained by the Bishop Museum and in other locations.

Patrick Caldwell of NODC is an expert in database development and data archiving.

Lu Eldredge of the Pacific Science Association is extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of information concerning the marine environment.


Paul Jokiel is presently Principal Investigator for the Hawai‘i Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program, which has developed a non-GIS bibliographic database and a monitoring database for Hawai‘i.

In addition, the group meets regularly with the other members of the Hawai‘i Marine Ecosystem Geographic Information System (MEGIS) Program, which consists of members representing all of agencies and groups concerned with the marine environment.

The Solution:

This partnership brings together expertise in Library Science data management, marine coastal ecology, conservation and environmental management. These experts have designed and implemented a bibliographic information database using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. The complexity of developing a system covering a large geographic area and overwhelming amount of information available in the Pacific required a limitation of geographic extent during the first phase of the program. The pilot model is limited to the island of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i.

During the first year, work was focused on establishing a GIS-based bibliographic and data retrieval system for the marine environment of O‘ahu. This system should facilitate expansion to the rest of the State of Hawai‘i and Pacific in future years and will be compatible with the existing USFWS Pacific Ecoregion GIS database.

The project will gather bibliographic information that currently exists in a variety of formats and convert it to electronic format for ease of use and manipulation.

The addition of geographic information to the bibliographic records will allow the database to serve as a basic resource for GIS and data oriented programs, thereby increasing their value to managers. The database will serve as an important management tool by offering managers a greatly simplified mechanism for the identification of and access to coastal marine information as it is produced.

At present the GIS bibliography system is available on CD ROM. Also, a multi-variable searchable text database of the bibliography is available on the Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program Website.

This system offers the following advantages:

  • a single access point, search interface and electronic format

  • the power of multi-variable search strategies

  • improved, cost-effective access to information

  • value-added documentation through the inclusion of geographic information to bibliographic records

  • a methodology for capturing new information

  • an electronic format that allows flexibility for upgrading as access and communication technology evolves

  • an information resource for future GIS projects

  • an information resource for future data mining projects

  • a system that benefits many agencies DAR, Fish and Wildlife Service, HCRI, Bishop Museum, Univ. of Hawai‘i, NOAA, community agencies, etc

  • a process for systematically acquiring and providing access to new information as it is produced

2002 And Beyond

Of the O‘ahu marine and coral reef bibliographic references located during the year 2001, over one-half have been found in the UH Mānoa Hamilton Library. During the year 2002, the partnership will obtain hard copy of the remainding non-located O‘ahu references from researchers, consultants and a variety of organizations and place these documents in Hamilton Library.

Hamilton Library will then become the central depository for O‘ahu marine related scientific and management information.

Also during the year 2002, the partnership will explore the use of the internet to display of GIS bibliographic data.

In the future, the GIS, database and library system will be expanded to include all of the Hawaiian Islands, the Northwest Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific.

The partnership aims to provide one location for Hawai‘i and Pacific marine and coral reef data and bibliographic information through the use of the internet, CD ROM media and the Hamilton Library.



Last Update: 04/21/2008

By: Lea Hollingsworth

Hawai‘i Coral Reef Assessment & Monitoring Program

Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology

P.O. Box 1346

Kāne‘ohe, HI 96744

808-236-7440 phone

808-236-7443 fax