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National Ornithological Databank (NOD) Cell

Biodiversity information, marked by attributes like data reliability and currency, remains the cornerstone of our efforts to draw up conservation policies, strategies, and action plans. A vast majority of this key information even for well-documented taxa like birds and mammals remains scattered in scientific literature and project reports, most of which are inaccessible to user community leading to an apparent vacuum in biodiversity information sphere.

This is clearly untenable given the volume of precious resources – time, money, and intellect that have already been invested in generating knowledge on our vast biodiversity. Moreover, lack of access to biodiversity data often leads to duplication of efforts to collect the crucial information – a further drain on our resources. To overcome these issues of data irretrievability, biodiversity databases, standardized for scale and interoperability, need to be developed and commissioned for public use.

In an effort to fill in this gap, SACON has established National Ornithological Databank (NOD) Cell, a data-portal on Indian ornithology in order to achieve the ‘last-mile’ connectivity between data sources and user community.  In fact, one of the objectives of SACON, as envisioned in its preamble, is “to create a databank on Indian ornithology and natural history, and disseminate knowledge relating to ornithology and natural history for the benefit of the community”.

NOD Cell was formally inaugurated on 24th March, 2017 by Shri. Ajay Narayan Jha, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India in the presence of Dr. T. Chandni, Scientist-G and Advisor, MoEF&CC.

The main objectives of the NOD Cell are:

  1. To collate, organize, authenticate, curate, and make key information/data on Indian ornithology
  2. To serve as a single-window clearing house on Indian ornithology and natural history
  3. To publish a serial ‘Indian Ornithological Abstracts’ that would give a periodical abstracting service of all the publications on various aspects of Indian ornithology
  4. To publish a quadrennial ‘State of Indian Birds’ report that would summarize the current conservation status of Indian birds and their habitats

Director, SACON is the Nodal Officer of the NOD Cell and it is managed by a team comprising Dr. Rajah Jayapal, Principal Scientist (Ornithology) & Coordinator-NOD Cell, Mr. Manoharan, Librarian In-charge, and Ms. R. K. Niveditha, Programme Fellow.

Currently, NOD Cell is working on developing a national database of ornithological theses and dissertations (popularly known as ‘grey literature’), which form the bulk of the country’s research outputs on birds and their conservation and yet largely remain unpublished. In the years to come, NOD Cell is planning to launch other verticals like species databases, conservation and avian PA management information portal, and ecological databases.

It is planned to curate all the data and make them available in an open-access web portal, which would be exclusively created for the NOD Cell.