Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

January 2008


Web-based karst information, Bibliographies, Databases, Cave manage­ment, Karst Information Portal


Effective stewardship of caves and karst areas requires access to and efficient analysis of a diverse range of information. Vital data are scattered throughout specialty mainstream journals, which even for a single project could include fields such as ecology, hydrogeology, contaminant transport, toxicology, engineering geology and law. Additionally, volumes of crucial information often lie in diffi­cult-to-find gray literature. Management recommendations and decisions should be based on assessments of state-of-the-art information, but fall short when im­portant patterns and relationships are overlooked.

The Karst Information Portal (KIP) offers a solution to these problems. Con­ceived in 2005 and launched in June 2007, KIP grew as a partnership among the International Union of Speleology, National Cave and Karst Research Institute, University of New Mexico, and University of South Florida. Key features com­plete or in development include: federated searches of Web sites for more efficient and reliable location of key research papers and information; a searchable database of multidisciplinary karst information; a library of on-line karst papers, reports and theses; and a collaborative international on-line workspace to post and evaluate im­ages, maps, databases, and other published and unpublished information.

Like other virtual research portals, KIP will continue to grow as existing and future partners contribute information by plugging Web sites and databases into the network. KIP will not duplicate existing databases but will more efficiently access and process them with superior tools. Additional partners can help fulfill KIP’s potential in revolutionizing cave and karst stewardship through advanced and collaborative integration of data and ideas.