UIS Informatics Commission

The Karst Information Portal - An Introduction

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The Karst Information Portal (KIP) is an international karst information facility launched in August 2007 by the four organisations below. Rationale:

"The karst research community and its knowledge base are fragmented, globally distributed, and highly interdisciplinary. As karst issues move to the forefront of attempts to develop solutions in response to significant human environmental degradation, information integration and linkages promoting collaboration and connectivity among researchers is essential.

The Karst Information Portal is an open-access digital library linking scientists, managers, and explorers to quality information resources in order to inform research, to enhance collaboration, and to address policy decisions concerning karst environments."
- KIP website: 'About the project'.

As well as linking to existing web-based karst information, the portal will provide a platform for international collaboration, and will enable information searches which simultaneously span multiple disparate co-operating databases around the world.


The KIP is a not-for-profit consortium of member organisations managed by a Board of Directors made up of a representative from each member organisation. The consortium's four founding members and their current roles are:
National Cave & Karst Research Institute
The KIP Managing Organisation. "The Managing Organization manages the day-to-day business of the KIP, takes the lead in promoting the KIP for continued and increased collaborations as well as for additional funding, and to represent the KIP at meetings, events, and to the media, the general public, and in soliciting and/or negotiating with potential member organizations."
University of South Florida Libraries
The KIP Operating Organisation. "The Operating Organization develops, maintains, and enhances the web-based services and operations of the KIP, including developing a logical, efficient, and searchable database, collecting new sources of data, linking to new websites and databases, coordinating with organizations and individuals that provide data, linkages, and technical support, developing and maintaining a digital duplicate archive of all KIP data and software, and acquiring and maintaining the appropriate hardware to fulfill this role as necessary due to changes in data storage, retrieval, and processing technology."
University Libraries, University of New Mexico
"The role of UNM is to research additional technologies, concepts, and sources of information that can be incorporated in the KIP and/or used to enhance the KIP. UNM will seek and develop collaborative relationships with individuals and organizations that may be outside of the cave and karst community but which can support UNM's role in the KIP."
International Union of Speleology
"The role of the UIS is to develop communication, collaborations, and data linkages and exchanges between the KIP and the international community of cave and karst researchers, managers, and explorers. The UIS will link its website and cave and karst databases to the KIP, and will actively promote similar action by its members, as well as international non-member individuals and organizations. The UIS will inform the KIP of any relevant international activities and will inform the international cave and karst community of the KIP's activities. The UIS will assist in providing language translations when needed by the KIP."

"The KIP does not possess, or directly receive or disburse funds. It is financially supported by its member organizations in accordance with the members' prior agreement on the use of contributed funds, services, and/or materials. Any revenue related to the KIP's activities is received by and disbursed to the member organizations in accordance with pre-established agreements by those organizations."


The University of South Florida's Patel Center for Global Solutions was the catalyst for this project, providing generous support on many levels. The Center is committed to facilitating solutions to today's most pressing global problems, e.g. water.

"Solid research cannot take place in any field without easy access to previously discovered information, data, and results. The research area of karst - a type of terrain that forms underground aquifers and therefore is directly related to the provision of water is one such field in which much of the research is difficult to access. The Center is facilitating research in this area by supporting the creation of a web-based portal that will be the first of its kind to make karst information easily available."
- Patel Center website.

UIS and the Informatics Commission have been involved with the project since early 2006, and continue to co-operate closely with KIP.

The KIP website is now in its third stage, and with everybody's co-operation should continue to develop into a most useful karst resource. Individuals and organisations who want to contribute are encouraged to contact the KIP's Manager at USF, Todd Chavez, at tchavez@usf.edu.

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Version: 2013-06-20
Site: P. Matthews.