Access to Biological Collections Data

The TDWG Maintenance Group for the ABCD Standard


Image by Chris Lawton


David Fichtmueller (

Anton Güntsch (

Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin
Freie Universität Berlin
Königin-Luise-Straße 6-8,
D-14195 Berlin, Germany

Core members

  • Walter Berendsohn (Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin)
  • Tanja Weibulat (Bavarian Natural History Collections)
  • Franck Theeten (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium)
  • Andreas Altenburger (The Arctic University Museum of Norway)
  • Patricia Mergen (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium)


The purpose of the ABCD Maintenance Group is to maintain the ABCD (Access to Biological Collection Data) standard and its associated vocabularies and to adjust them to new requirements from the community through the addition and revision of terms.

Becoming involved

The work done by this group is open for participation from all interested community members. Upcoming meetings are communicated through the groups communication channels, which are outlined on the community GitHub page .

To suggest changes or additions to ABCD as well as raising general questions, please create a ticket for it in the GitHub issue tracker: .

Alternatively you can also email the conveners for your input or to be notified about upcoming meetings.

History and context

Development on ABCD started in 2001 as an XML Schema. Version 2 became a ratified TDWG standard in 2005 and has since achieved widespread adoption.

This group will maintain the standard under the current standards framework outlined by the TDWG bylaws.


The purpose of the ABCD Maintenance 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 standard for biological collection records. 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.