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Darwin Core

technical specification current standard 2009

Darwin Core is our most popular standard for sharing biodiversity information.

Find us on GitHub


The Darwin Core is a set of terms and definitions that 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 primarily focused on intended semantics (definitions) and impose relatively few constraints on format or encoding. This makes the standard maximally useful in data publishing (reduces barriers), and enables the standard to support pipelines and other tools that can incrementally improve data quality. For more complete description and history, see the references below.

The Darwin Core is a ratified TDWG standard. Modifications and enhancements are managed by the Darwin Core Maintenance Group.


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.

Becoming Involved

The best way to be involved is to create an account on GitHub, and "watch" the DwC GitHub repository, as well as the DwC Question and Answer repository, and respond to requests for comments or "issues" (DwC issues and DwC-qa issues).


  • Resource Directory:
  • Primary collaboration platform: (was:
  • DarwinCore Question and Answer platform:
  • Website: this website