DarwinCore (DwC)

The most widely used standard in the international biodiversity community is Darwin Core (DwC). Darwin Core is an extension of the very general DublinCore (DC) data standard, intended specifically for biodiversity-related information. Darwin Core provides a vocabulary of terms that makes it possible to find, retrieve and integrate information about organisms, both for observations and organisms in natural history collections.

The Darwin Core standard is a relatively simple standard with a total of roughly 180 terms, divided into several categories. Darwin Core is, as the name suggests, intended primarily for the core data of an observation or a collection specimen. More information can be stored in so-called DarwinCore Extensions, additional data coupled with the core data.

Access to Biological Collections Data (ABCD)

ABCD is a highly advanced data standard that makes it possible to record an abundance of information in a standardised manner. The standard includes more than 1000 terms and can be scaled up for specific information. There are ABCD variants for molecular data and paleontological data. Specific software is often required to publish the data if the ABCD standard is used. ABCD is used predominantly for natural history collections.

Ecological Metadata Language (EML)

Besides Darwin Core, EML (Ecological Metadata Language) is the second important GBIF data standard. This standard specifically focusses on meta-data of research, monitoring, collection and observation data. EML is used by several large biodiversity data networks such as the Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTER).

EML and DwC are the standards that also appear in the main GBIF applications such as the GBIF data portal and the GBIF Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT).

TDWG / Biodiversity Information Standards

TDWG / Biodiversity Information Standards is the international platform where biodiversity data standards are drawn up, discussed and officially accepted by the community. In addition to information about DarwinCore, the TDWG site also contains information on many new developments such as Audubon Core information, a standard for multimedia data relating to biodiversity, or info about Plinian Core, a standard for the description of species. The TDWG site also contains information on biodiversity-related projects, meetings, symposia and acronyms.

Standard data-exchange protocols

In addition to using standardised data, NLBIF and GBIF also use standardised data exchange protocols, such as web services, APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), and OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative - Protocol for Metadata Harvesting).