Darwin Core Task Group Charter

TDWG Task Group

A Task Group of the Observations and Specimens Interest Group


John Wieczorek
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
Phone: +01-510-642-5409
Fax: +01-510-643-8238
Email: tuco(at)berkeley.edu

Core Members

  • John Wieczorek (originator, documentation, implementation)
  • Stan Blum (originator, contributor)
  • Renato De Giovanni (contributor, implementation)


The formation of this Task Group is required by the TDWG Standards Process to move the Darwin Core Conceptual Framework from an implemented idea into a formal TDWG Standard. A new version of Darwin Core will provide the guidance and opportunity for all biodiversity data networks currently using different versions of Darwin Core to converge into a single data standard.

Goals, Outputs and Outcomes



Darwin Task Group Charter

First draft: 11 Oct 2006. Latest draft: 19 Feb 2007

Darwin Core Schema (Type 1, normative part + cover page)

Complete: 15 Sep 2006

Geospatial Extension Schema (Type 1, normative part + cover page)

Complete: 15 Sep 2006

Curatorial Extension Schema (Type 1, normative part + cover page)

Complete: 15 Sep 2006

Contribute to TDWG Ontology Group & TDWG Architecture Group

Ongoing from 2005

Cooperate with ABDC Group

Ongoing from 2006

Cooperate with Geospatial Group

Ongoing from 2004

Review and capture commentary from Darwin Core site at California Academy of Sciences to TDWG Wiki

Complete: 10 Oct 2006

Update Darwin Core Concept Documentation

Complete: 15 Sep 2006

Update Geospatial Extension Concept Documentation

Complete: 15 Sep 2006

Update Curatorial Extension Concept Documentation

Complete: 15 Sep 2006

Publish mapping between Darwin Core versions

Complete: 14 Feb 2007

Publish mapping between Darwin Core and ABCD

Feb 2007

Publish application schema for Darwin Core

Complete: 14 Feb 2007

Test Darwin Core application schema for TAPIR

Complete: 15 Feb 2007

Propose DwC, Geospatial, and Curatorial Extensions as TDWG standard

19 Feb 2007


All outputs except publishing the mapping between Darwin Core (and extensions) to ABCD have been completed at the time of submission of this charter. This mapping will be published in both TDWG Darwin Core and ABCD Wiki pages, showing the equivalent elements (in each direction) between the two schemas.

Becoming Involved

The best way to be involved is to respond to the request for comments.

History and Context

Darwin Core was originally a product of The Species Analyst Project at the University of Kansas. During 2001-2003, under the Mammal Networked Information System (MaNIS) Project at UC Berkeley, in collaboration with the University of Kansas Biodiversity Research Center and the California Academy of Sciences, the first version of the Darwin Core 2 was developed in tandem with the DiGIR protocol and its publicly released provider and portal software. Until 2006 there was a proliferation of Darwin Core versions based on the originally published (version 1.2). MaNIS was the first deployment of a distributed database network based on DiGIR (16 June 2002), using a revision (version 1.21) of the original Darwin Core 2. It is version 1.21 upon which the proposed Darwin Core, Geospatial Extension, and Curatorial Extension are most closely based.


The Darwin Core is designed to facilitate the exchange of information about the geographic occurrence of organisms and the physical existence of biotic specimens in collections. Extensions to the Darwin Core provide a mechanism to share additional information, which may be discipline-specific, or beyond the commonly agreed upon scope of the Darwin Core itself. The Darwin Core and its extensions are minimally restrictive of information content by design, since doing so would render the standard useless for the implementation of data quality tools.


  • What is in scope?
    • Collections of any kind of biological objects or data.
    • Terminology associated with biological collection data.
    • Striving for compatibility with other biodiversity-related standards.
    • Facilitating the addition of components and attributes of biological data.
  • What is not in scope?
    • Data interchange protocols.
    • Non-biodiversity-related data.
    • Purely taxonomic data.


  • Biodiversity data holders (organizations, institutions, researchers).
  • Consumers of biodiversity data.
  • Developers of collections management systems.
  • Other TDWG interest and task groups.
  • Protocol developers (TAPIR).
  • Biodiversity network developers.


  Last Modified: 25 November 2006