Access to Biological Collection Data (ABCD) Charter

A Task Group of the Observation and Specimen Record Interest Group

Convenor

Walter G. Berendsohn
Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem
Freie Universität Berlin
Königin-Luise-Straße 6-8,
D-14191 Berlin, Germany.
Phone: (+4930) 838-50143
Fax (+4930) 841729-43
Email: w.berendsohn(at)bgbm.org

Core Members

Motivation

The purpose of the ABCD Content Definition Group is to foster accessibility of existing and emerging biological collection data banks at the international level by developing and maintaining a comprehensive and commented schema for biological collection records (ABCD Schema).

ABCD Schema is a common data specification for biological collection units, including living and preserved specimens, along with field observations that did not produce voucher specimens. It is intended to support the exchange and integration of detailed primary collection and observation data.

All of the world's biological collections contain a number of data items including specimen-specific (e.g. taxon, altitude, sex) and collection-specific (e.g. holding institution) elements. The set of elements used varies from collection to collection. ABCD provides a reconciled set of element names and their definition for scientists and curators to use.

A design goal of the data specification was to be both comprehensive and general, to include a broad array of concepts that might be available in a collection database, but to mandate only the bare minimum of elements required to make the specification functional. It is not expected (or even possible) for any collection to use more than a fraction of the elements defined in the standard.

ABCD deliberately does not cover taxonomic data, such as synonymy, other than the use of names in identifications. Likewise, taxon-related information, such as distribution range, indicator values, etc., is not included. The elements and concepts that are used provide as much compatibility as is possible with other standards in the field of biological collection data, such as HISPID, Darwin Core, and others.

The data specification is cast as an XML schema.

Goals, Outputs and Outcomes

  • September 2007: Version 2.06c (minor upgrade) published
  • September 2007: All documentation including those produced by the TDWG Subgroup on Biological Collection Data moved to TDWG website
  • Medium and long-term: dissolving ABCD into standardised modules that map to the TDWG Ontology and can be used by different standards

Strategy

  • Incremental updates of the existing standard will follow a RfC (Request for Comment) process in the task group.
  • The elements in the Schema should be mapped into the TDWG (LSID) Ontology. Groups of common data elements should be identified among TDWG standards and shared as common modules (e.g. schemas).

Becoming Involved

Answering Requests for Comment or by contacting the convenor.

History and Context

See http://wiki.tdwg.org/twiki/bin/view/ABCD/AbcdIntroduction.

Summary

The purpose of the ABCD Task Group is to foster accessibility of existing and emerging biological collection data banks at the international level by developing and maintaining a comprehensive and commented schema for biological collection records (ABCD Schema). In the process, it promotes standardization of the terminology used to model biological collection information and provides a general format for data exchange and retrieval for biological collections.

Resources


  Last Modified: 26 November 2006