Natural sciences

The Access to Biological Collections Data (ABCD) Schema is an evolving comprehensive standard for the access to and exchange of data about specimens and observations (a.k.a. primary biodiversity data). The ABCD Schema attempts to be comprehensive and highly structured, supporting data from a wide variety of databases. It is compatible with several existing data standards. Parallel structures exist so that either (or both) atomised data and free-text can be accommodated.

Sponsored by Biodiversity Information Standards TDWG - the Taxonomic Databases Working Group, the current specification was last modified in 2007.

Darwin Core documentation and recommendations for herbaria.

A body of standards, including a glossary of terms (in other contexts these might be called properties, elements, fields, columns, attributes, or concepts) intended to facilitate the sharing of information about biological diversity by providing reference definitions, examples, and commentaries.

Sponsored by Biodiversity Information Standards (TWDG), the current standard was last modified in October 2009.

An extension to the Darwin Core standard, it includes additional terms required to describe plant genetic resources and in particular germplasm seed samples.

Ecological Metadata Language (EML) is a metadata specification particularly developed for the ecology discipline. It is based on prior work done by the Ecological Society of America and associated efforts (Michener et al., 1997, Ecological Applications).

Sponsored by ecoinformatics.org, EML Version 2.1.1 was released in 2011.

Established by a global network of countries and organizations, GBIF is a web portal promoting and facilitating the mobilization, access, discovery and use of biodiversity data. The portal uses a profile of EML; a How-to Guide and Reference Guide for using the profile are available.

An extension to ABCD 2.06, it is designed to allow the storage and transmission of herbarium plant specimen data.

The goal of these standards is to expose the rich content in aggregations of Web resources to applications that support authoring, deposit, exchange, visualization, reuse, and preservation. The standards support the changing nature of scholarship and scholarly communication, and the need for cyberinfrastructure to support that scholarship, with the intent to develop standards that generalize across all web-based information including the increasing popular social networks of “Web 2.0”.

A specification of how to embed OME-XML metadata within a TIFF or BigTIFF image file.

OME-XML is a vendor-neutral file format for biological image data, with an emphasis on metadata supporting light microscopy. It can be used as a data file format in its own right, or as a way of encoding metadata within a TIFF or BigTIFF file (for which purpose there is the OME-TIFF specification).

The standard is maintained by the Open Microscopy Environment Consortium, and was last updated in June 2012.