The ABCD of primary biodiversity data access
ABCD, BioCASE, GBIF, open access, primary biodiversity data networks, XML
Within the context of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), the Biological Collections Access Service (BioCASe) has been set up to foment data provision by natural history content providers. Products include the BioCASe Protocol and the PyWrapper software, a web service allowing to access rich natural history data using complex schemas like ABCD (Access to Biological Collection Data). New developments include the possibility to produce DarwinCore-Archive files using PyWrapper, in order to facilitate the indexing of large datasets by aggregators such as GBIF. However, BioCASe continues to be committed to distributed data access and continues to provide the possibility to directly query the web service for up-to-date data directly from the provider’s database. ABCD provides comprehensive coverage of natural history data, and has been extended to cover DNA collections (ABCD-DNA) and geosciences (ABCD-EFG, the extension for geosciences). BioCASe also developed web portal software that allows to access and display rich data provided by special interest networks. We posit that the XML-based networking approach using a highly standardised data definition such as ABCD continues to be a valuable approach towards mobilising natural history information. Some suggestions are made regarding further improvements of ABCD.