Genebanks are in the business of conserving, a conservative business by nature. However, many new technologies highly relevant to the PGR community have become available over the past years, especially in the fields of genomics and computer science. The effect of the second category of technologies on the ex situ management of plant genetic resources will be explored. After a low initial level of standardization in genebank documentation systems, a strong increase of access and exchange of information can be observed. Important elements behind this increase are standardization - creating the possibility to interpret each others information - and web services - creating the possibilities for machines to access each others information via the Internet. Some aspects of these developments such as the application of ontologies, persistent identifiers and anticipated developments such as the increased use of open source software, will be presented. Also for the user of PGR and associated information a lot has changed and continues to change. Ongoing developments include on-line querying and ordering facilities and the application of GIS technology for querying and trait prediction. A final element that will be described is the development of virtual genebanks: thanks to IT tools, the management of PGR and the interfaces to these PGR can be decoupled. As a result, anyone can develop a website giving access to PGR, including the possibility to order material in one or more genebanks anywhere in the world.
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