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Leuvensesteenweg 13
3080 Tervuren - Belgium
Tel. (+32) 02 769 52 11
Fax (+32) 02 769 52 42


STERNA Project

The Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) is participating since 2008 in the STERNA consortium (Semantic Web-based Thematic European Reference Network Application) with other leading European organizations that collect and manage digital content on biodiversity, wildlife and nature in general.

Its aim is the development of a comprehensive information space on birds, in which content from heterogeneous collections is interrelated and made findable through the internet, to the objectives of a European Digital Library (EDL).  This distributed digital library solution will provide online public access to the rich European scientific and cultural heritage.  A variety of contributors provide services for users interested in birds, ranging from amateurs to land managers to scientists.

  • The activities encompassed by STERNA are:
    1. Providing natural history and biodiversity information comprising pictures, movies, 3D-images, sound recordings as well as specimens and ethnographic objects. RMCA’s African Biology Department has established a plan to disseminate information regarding a selection of ornithological publications and specimens (such as unique bird types), as well as ethnographic objects composed of feathers or beaks (in collaboration with the Human Sciences Department)

      STERNA contacts in the RMCA

      Stijn Cooleman or Patricia Mergen

      Royal Museum for Central Africa
      Leuvensesteenweg, 13
      3080 Tervuren

      E-mail :
      Stijn Cooleman
      Patricia Mergen
    2. Enriching content semantically, because STERNA is a showcase project for using semantic technologies and standards like RDF (Resource Description Framework) and SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organization System) in a European Digital Library initiative; Digitization and publishing of these data will take place closely with local researchers and researchers from the RMCA, aided with internationally recognized Internet protocols and software cf: GBIF, TDWG (Taxonomic Database Working Group)
    3. Advising:  
      - on compliance with international recognized standards like Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG), such as the Access to Biological Collection Data (ABCD) Schema, especially for the access to and exchange of RMCA’s data about specimens in a BioCASE portal for scientists;
      - on interoperability and enhancement of tools: Project results will be of interest to digital library initiatives and the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), and those providing the discovery and mobilisation of biodiversity data like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF);
      - on methods to extend the STERNA network



STERNA Consortium:
Salzburg Research Forschungsgesellschaft m.b.H. (Project Coordinator), Archipelagos, DOPPS Birdlife Slovenia, Heritage Malta, Hungarian Natural History Museum, Icelandic Institute of Natural History, Natural History Museum of the Municipality of Amaroussion, Natural History Museum of Luxembourg, Naturalis, Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Teylers Museum, Wildscreen/ARKive. STERNA’s technical architecture and tools are provided by Trezorix.

STERNA is a Best Practice Network funded under the EU eContentplus programme in the target area Digital Libraries.



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