International Society for Pest Information

Report of the 5th Meeting

University of Göttingen
Göttingen, Germany
18 March 2009


1. Opening and adoption of the agenda
The meeting was opened by Stefan Vidal. A list of the participants of the meeting is attached as Annex I. The provisional agenda, which corresponded to the numbered sections of this report was adopted.

2. Elections

Stefan Vidal served as chairman for the meeting. Olaf Zimmermann and Bernhard Zelazny agreed to be rapporteurs.

For the present and future elections the procedure was adopted that the ISPI presidents and vice-presidents are elected together. The highest number of votes would elect the president and the 2nd highest number the vice-president.

In accordance with the articles of the society, 8 members, who were unable to attend the meeting, had submitted their ballot forms by e-mail beforehand. These are listed in Annex I. In addition, 5 ballot forms were completed by the members attending the meeting (thus in total 13 ballots were submitted). The following members had agreed to be considered as candidates for the executive and finance committees. The total number of votes received for each candidate is shown in brackets behind the names:

President and Vice-President:
Jürgen Gross (8 votes)
Stefan Vidal (8 votes)
Regina Sugayama (7 votes)

Executive Officer:
Bernhard Zelazny (12 votes)

Finance Committee (3 members to be elected):
Olaf Zimmermann (9 votes)
Peter Ebling (8 votes)
Jürg Huber (7 votes)
Matthias E. Zweigert (7 votes)

For ISPI President and Vice-President Jürgen Gross and Stefan Vidal received the same number of votes. However, Stefan Vidal withdrew his candidacy after the votes had been counted. Therefore, the meeting elected Jürgen Gross as President and Regina Sugayama as Vice-President. There was also a voting tie for the third position of the Finance Committee. However, Matthias Zweigert also withdrew his candidacy after the election. All candidates accepted their office during the meeting or in subsequent communications.

3. Reports on the activities and finances of the society since the last meeting

Bernhard Zelazny reported on the activities of the Society between September 2006 and March 2009, see Annex II for a summary. The activities of the Society included maintaining and improving the ISPI webpage which provides access to a variety of information (e.g. a database with literature on locusts, grasshoppers and thrips pests, a database of scientists and professionals active in the field of pest management, and a list of relevant scientific journals). The ISPI 'Pest Directory' database has been expanded and updated continuously and new editions were published as CDs in April 2007 and April 2008. Several activities were related to the topic of searching for scientific literature, the use of keywords and the possibility of converting the ISPI 'Pest Directory' into an on-line information system with Wiki functions. These activities were further discussed as part of agenda item 4 (see below). The report of the ISPI activities was accepted by the meeting.

On behalf of the finance committee Olaf Zimmermann reported on the income and expenditures of the Society during the years 2006 to 2008. These are summarized in Annex III. In all years the income exceeded the expenditures and at the end of 2008 the account balance was Euro 7353. The finance report was accepted by the meeting.

4. Proposal to convert the ISPI Pest Directory database into an on-line information system with Wiki functions

Olaf Zimmermann summarized the ISPI activities related to keywords in scientific literature, literature searches, and the future of the ISPI 'Pest Directory' database. A presentation by O. Zimmermann, B. Zelazny, S. Vidal, J. Gross and O. Hering was given on this subject in September 2008 during the meeting of the German Society for Phytomedicine (DPG). The Title of the presentation was [Scientific publications in plant protection - databases and the problem of key words]. This was followed by a one-day discussion round in Novermber 2008 in Darmstadt. A summary of the discussion round is attached as Annex IV. The conclusion of the discussion round and of the current meeting was to try to convert the ISPI 'Pest Directory' database into an on-line information system, where authors would be able to enter titles and abstracts of their publications together with other relevant information which will make it possible to automatically classify and categorize the publication for easy retrieval. Important information entered by the authors would be, for example, what are the important pests and beneficial organisms covered by the article, which crops were attacked by these pests and under which research topic can the article be classified. It was discussed that a larger project would be needed to establish such an information system and to ensure its long-term viability. A brief project outline was discussed during the meeting which is attached as Annex V. As a first step, it was decided to subcontract a professional expert assessment on the technical requirements for such an information system.

5. Possibilities of enhancing collaboration with ISPI members outside Germany

The problem of ISPI having few active members who are scattered around the world was discussed. Few of the members are able to attend the membership meetings. It was decided that more attempts should be made for ISPI members to meet during conferences to discuss and encourage ISPI activities. The examples given were the 'Biocontrol Industry Meeting', to be held in Lucerne, Switzerland in October 2009 and the IOBC meeting in Vienna in autumn 2010.

Stefan Vidal
Olaf Zimmermann and Bernhard Zelazny

 Annex I

5th ISPI meeting - participants

Members participating in the meeting:

Jürgen Gross
JKI, Dossenheim

Gerald Moritz
Halle-Wittenberg University

Stefan Vidal
Göttingen University

Bernhard Zelazny
Griesheim (retired)

Olaf Zimmermann
JKI, Darmstadt

Members participating in the election by e-mail, but who were not attending the meeting:

Allan E. Deutsch
Peter Ebling
Regina G. Kleespies
Thorsten Kraska
Michel Lecoq
Christian U. Pantenius
Arne Peters
Matthias E. Zweigert

 Annex II

International Society for Pest Information

Summary Report on the Society Activities
between September 2006 and February 2009

The most important society activities since September 2006 have been:

  1. The ISPI webpage ( was updated and improved. The number of visitors to the website continued to increase:
  2. 2005 - 4490 per month
    2006 - 5600 per month
    2007 - 7273 per month
    2008 - 8152 per month

    The following webpages were visited most frequently during 2007 and 2008:
    a) Literature on locust and thrips pests
    b) IPMnet calendar of meetings
    c) List of links to scientific journals
    d) Database of scientists

  3. Updated and improved editions of the ISPI 'Pest Directory' database were published as CDs in April 2007 and 2008. Among others, a system was introduced to link certain groups of pests, beneficials and crops to other databases available on the internet. The number of sold CDs was 82 in 2007 and 69 in 2008. Repeated orders from the same customers at a reduced price have increased again. The 2009 version of the database is in preparations, but there are difficulties adapting the database to run on the Windows Vista operating system.
  4. Olaf Zimmermann has collaborated with other members to analyze the current problems faced during electronic searches for scientific literature in the field of pest management. In September 2008, he gave a presentation during the German Plant Protection Conference which was followed by a discussion round with 4 ISPI members on 10 Nov. 2008 at the JKI Institute in Darmstadt.
  5. Since April 2007, we are collaborating with IPMnet (Allan Deutsch) at the Oregon State University on publishing an on-line calendar of meetings and other events. This has become a popular webpage.
  6. We have started to collaborate with the Canadian Forest Service (Peter Ebling, who became an ISPI member in 2008) on a joint database of producers of insects, mites and nematodes.

Bernhard Zelazny (Executive Officer)
Griesheim, Germany

 Annex III

International Society for Pest Information

Accounts for 2006 (currency Euro)




opening balance, 1st January 2006



income from sale of 81 CDs



CD production and distribution



costs for internet page and e-mail account



postage, telephone, bank charges



society meeting in Göttingen



software consultation for ISPI website






balance as of 31st Dec. 2006



Accounts for 2007




opening balance, 1st January 2007



income from sale of 82 CDs



CD production and distribution



costs for internet page and e-mail account



postage, telephone, bank charges



other expenses






balance as of 31st Dec. 2007



Accounts for 2008




opening balance, 1st January 2008



income from sale of 69 CDs



CD production and distribution



costs for internet page and e-mail account



postage, telephone, bank charges



other expenses






balance as of 31st Dec. 2008




Presented by the ISPI Finance Committee (January 2008)

Jürg Huber
Olaf Zimmermann
Matthias Zweigert

 Annex IV

International Society for Pest Information
Discussion Meeting

Literature Search Systems - ISPI Database

Darmstadt, Germany - 10 November 2008

Olaf Hering - JKI - Information Centre and Library, Berlin
Jürgen Gross - JKI - Institute for Plant Protection for Fruit Crops and Viticulture, Dossenheim
Bernhard Zelazny - Retired, Griesheim
Olaf Zimmermann - JKI - Institute for Biological Control, Darmstadt

Background - Discussion Topics
On 24 Sept. 2008, Olaf Zimmermann presented the following paper during the German Plant Protection Conference (held in Kiel, Germany):

Wissenschaftliche Veröffentlichungen im Pflanzenschutz - Datenbanken und das Problem der Schlüsselwörter
[Scientific publications in plant protection - databases and the problem of key words]
O. Zimmermann, B. Zelazny, S. Vidal, J. Gross und O. Hering

In this paper current on-line search systems for scientific literature were discussed. For scientists working in the field of pest management, such search systems are unsatisfactory because it is difficult to search for specific research topics, resulting in many unrelated hits, organisms like pests/diseases, crops or beneficials are not or poorly defined. Two literature search systems were given as examples for an improved literature search systems:
The ISPI Pest Directory database (currently only available as a CD version) where literature is pre-classified and which allows the retrieval of scientific articles according to specific pests, crops, natural enemies, countries or geographic regions, and research topics.
The gopubmed system ( where search results are sorted according to research topics, authors, journals or publication years. However the gopubmed system contains relatively few articles relevant to pest management.
The paper concluded that it may be possible to create an advance on-line literature search system in collaboration with relevant scientific journals where authors classify their articles by specifying which important pests/diseases, crops, geographic locations, and research topics are covered by their articles.

The purpose of the discussion in Darmstadt was to explore possibilities for how ISPI could become active in promoting the creation and implementation of such an advanced on-line literature search system in the field of pest management.

Discussion Results - Technical Aspects
Olaf Hering pointed out that a literature classification into research topics can be achieved through a computer system which matches terms from the titles and abstracts of the article with a custom-made thesaurus. This is apparently the approach used by the gopubmed system. Therefore the input of the authors is not strictly necessary, although their inputs would improve the classification of research topics slightly. On the other hand, the input of the authors would be needed to specify which are the important species of pests/diseases, crops, beneficials and countries/regions which should be linked with a given article.

Olaf Hering also explained that links to the full-text version of an article can now be created by formatting an article as an 'open URL standard' and using a 'link resolver'. The 'link resolver' searches in real time for the full text of the article using a list of online libraries.

In conclusion, it was felt that for an advanced on-line literature search system in the field of pest management, modelled after the ISPI Pest Directory database, the input of the authors or of pest management specialists who classify the articles would be needed.

Discussion Results - Collaboration with Journals and other Literature Databases
Three weeks ago, Olaf Zimmermann visited the 2008 Frankfurt Book Fair and contacted publishers and organizations to explore possibilities of collaboration. He got the impression that it would be difficult to achieve a collaboration with publishers, but other organizations might be interested in such collaboration, e.g. the German Society for Information Science and Practice (DGI) or the Society for Database Information Systems (DABIS, based in Austria).

There are numerous online literature databases, many of them also specific to agriculture (even for specific pest groups/aspects) or biology. However, they all have their specific format and scope which does not match those of the ISPI Pest Directory.

It was concluded that it would not be easy to arrange for a collaboration with journals and other literature databases. By merging the data in the ISPI Pest Directory with other databases, many valuable information elements would be lost, for example those specifying the important pests/diseases of an article, the relationships to crops and geographic locations, or the tritrophic interactions between beneficials, pests/diseases and crops.

During discussions on collaborating with authors for the classification of literature, Jürgen Gross pointed out that the Wiki-principal which is based on collaboration through the internet could be a useful approach for winning the collaboration of authors.

Conclusions and goals
The discussion group concluded that it would be difficult to reach the goal of an advanced on-line literature search system by arranging for collaboration with journals or other databases. Instead the group felt that a better approach would be to convert as many aspects as possible of the ISPI Pest Directory database into an internet platform and include at the same time a Wiki-tool to enable authors to enter and classify their own articles.

Once this has been accomplished it would be easier to approach other organizations and journals with regards to collaboration. E.g. relevant journals could then require their authors to classify their articles using the ISPI approach.

The group realized that the above approach would require a major programming and development effort which likely would need project funding. As a first step it would be useful to collect as much as possible information on the best software, necessary work input and other resources needed to implement this goal. The coming ISPI meeting in Göttingen (March 2009) would be an opportunity to discuss this topic further and make more concrete plans.

 Annex V

Project Idea

On-Line Information System on Pest Management Literature


For the field of management of agricultural and veterinary pests, current on-line search systems for scientific literature are unsatisfactory because:

Since 2001, the International Society for Pest Information (ISPI, a non-profit organization registered in Germany) has published the 'Pest Directory' database as a CD. The database contains scientific literature (currently about 100,000 records) relevant to pest management, addresses of scientists, as well as other information on crops, pests, diseases, weeds, and their natural beneficial antagonists. The database overcomes the above limitations of searching for scientific literature and has become popular among scientists. However, it requires, for each new issue, distribution through the mail and installation on a PC. Therefore, it reaches only a limited number of potential users.


The project would convert the ISPI Pest Directory database into a free on-line information system with Wiki functions, encouraging authors to contribute their literature and other information to the system. The key information needed is which crops, pests, diseases, weeds and/or beneficials are covered by a given scientific article, the interactions between crops-pests-beneficials (e.g. which crops are attacked by a given pest, or which beneficials regulate a certain pest), classification of the research topic for each article (e.g. biological control, damage/economics, etc.) and geographic information. The authors are in the best position to provide such information.

As many users of such a system will be located in developing countries, the project would contact such users and would study their technical requirements.

The information system will initially rely on voluntary contributions by the authors. However, the project will also seek the collaboration of relevant scientific journals. The goal would be that important journals in the field of pest management will require their authors to enter information on their publications into the system. In addition, the project will explore the possible collaboration with other non-profit organizations active in this field, e.g. literature search systems operated by Agris (FAO) or Agricola (USDA National Agricultural Library).

Project implementation and resources

ISPI will assume the overall responsibility for implementing the project and will make substantial contributions to the project in terms of expert time.