The Biological Collection Access Service for Europe, BioCASE, is a transnational network of biological collections of all kinds. BioCASE enables widespread unified access to distributed and heterogeneous European collection and observational databases using open-source, system-independent software and open data standards and protocols.
Often the word BioCASE is used to refer to the technology that was created during the BioCASE project. Specially the BioCASE protocol and the BioCASE provider software. This technology makes it possible to connect an arbitrarily structured database to the GBIF and BioCASE network.
BioCASE builds on the predecessor projects CDEFD, BioCISE, and ENHSIN. These laid the groundwork for implementing a fully functional service unlocking the immense biological knowledge base formed by biological collections.
During BioCASE's EU-funded project phase (2001-2004), partners from 31 countries established the network, starting with meta-information on thousands of biological collections, and followed by a unit-level access network. "Unit-level" data refer to individual collection or observation units, i. e. individual specimens or observation records. In contrast, "collection-level metadata" consist of records describing entire collections of such units. This information comes in formats ranging from XML and text data to high-resolution images and even video files.
The continuous development of BioCASE, as well as user and data provider support, was or is supported by the European Union projects ENBI and SYNTHESYS, as well as by other initiatives such as the GBIF mirror and replication project.