Upcoming changes to our taxonomy portals

What is happening

In order to continue to provide the most up to date and accurate information, we recently took the decision to move from having three separate taxonomy portals - Plants of the World Online (POWO), World Checklist of Vascular plants (WCVP), and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP) - to having a single portal that contains all the same data from the previous three.

As our most visited service, we chose POWO to be the base of the new single taxonomy portal and once the data has been consolidated and moved across, we will be closing down the WCVP and WCSP websites.

Why we are making these changes

One of the main advantages of combining our taxonomy portals means more data in one place. The new updated POWO will contain all the data from WCVP & WCSP, and we've improved the user interface making the information even easier to find.

We have also been working on the data management infrastructure, moving to a modern database management system from the previous legacy environments. This is important for rationalizing our data sources as well as making our data robust and secure.

A big part of our Science Strategy is increasing the global use of our collections and data, and part of that means ensuring our data is accessible to everyone. Unfortunately, the existing WCVP and WCSP websites do not meet the accessibility standards we are looking to achieve, so by focusing our efforts on POWO we are able to make sure the site and information within are available to all of our users.

What's next for POWO

We're hard at work on a new data release due in the near future that will complete the World Checklist of Vascular plants. The full dataset (including all synonyms) will be completed in addition to the global geographic distribution for all vascular plants. Once this is complete the entire data set will be available to download via the POWO website.

We're also moving across the 'Build a Checklist' feature to POWO, and will be updating it to read from the full dataset, meaning users will be able to compile a checklist from all known vascular plants.

If you would like to get in touch with us regarding these changes you can do so at bi@kew.org.