The activities of the Swiss NGO, Plazi, was the topic of discussion by its Founder and President Dr Donat Agosti at the Southern African Society of Systematic Biologists (SASSB) seminar on 14 October. Plazi, which was established in 2008, leads the development of novel means of liberating taxonomic data from the primary literature, including the TaxPub/JATS XML schemas for taxonomic treatments, and more recently, the new Material Citation class in the Darwin Core standard which allows for specimens cited in the literature to be linked directly to their occurrence records provided by museums or other sources. He works closely with Pensoft Publishers to implement these tools to automate data extraction from the literature, with over 30 journals now making use of them. Plazi provides over 55% of datasets to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), making it the largest single dataset provider, and is the sole source of over 80,000 species names from its publications mediated data. Over 489 publications have been based on these data to date. Plazi has developed tools to liberate data that are openly accessible, and is opening up courses to allow partners to make use of these tools and infrastructure to process their specific publications, such as those covering a particular taxon or geographic region, or published by a natural history institution. This presentation provided an overview of Plazi, it’s data and processing and thoughts on how to involve the community.

The two other speakers were both from SANBI. Thembile Khoza from the Zoological Research, Foundational Research and Services presented on the “Compiling and dissemination of animal checklist for South African species” and Ronell Klopper: from the Foundational Research & Services Directorate presented on “The South African National Plant Checklist and e-Flora of South Africa projects”.