Introduction and Specifications

ABCD Schema is a comprehensive XML-based standard for the access to and exchange of natural history collection and observational data. The development of ABCD started in 2001; in 2005 it was ratified as TDWG standard. ABCD allows a detailed, atomized mapping of information about collection specimens and results of observations in the field. Data from any arbitrarily structured database can be mapped using freely available open source software (BioCASe provider software – Currently ABCD is used to publish data in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF,, German Federation for Biological Data (GFBio,, Europeana (, etc. The ABCD standard has been extended for the mapping of DNA samples (GGBN, and mineralogical and paleontological records (EFG, Extended for Geoscience, and is used for their publication in thematic specialized portals (GGBN Portal: and GeoCase:


If you are considering ABCD and the BioCASe provider and are using this standard for the first time or have further questions, please contact the BioCASe helpdesk at the Botanical Garden in Berlin. You can find your contact person here.

Additional Material

Mandatory Fields for Europeana

If you plan to submit ABCD(EFG) metadata to Europeana you need to include these mandatory fields in your BioCASe provider:

(1) fullScientificName (6) FileURI
(2) RecordBasis(7) ProductURI
(3) unitID(8) Organization Name
(4) sourceInstitutionID(9) LicenseURI ( >> You need to use the URI of one of the
available rights statement listed here (CC0, PDM, CC-BY, CC-BY-SA,
(5) sourceID (10) format

Recommended Fields for Europeana

We recommend that you fill in as many data fields as possible so that your dataset is easier to understand for a wide audience and the public. It is also much easier to link a well-described dataset to other data in the shared portal. Here are some more data fields that we particularly suggest you use.

(11) KindOfUnit (18) Age
(12) LatitudeDecimal = Using this field will
enable a map view in Europeana
(19) IdentifiersText
(13) LongitudeDecimal = Using this field will
enable a map view in Europeana
(20) GatheringAgentsText
(14) LocalityText (21) Gathering-DateTime-DateText
(15) Country-Name (22) Gathering-NamedArea-AreaName
(16) Unit-Notes (23) Gathering-Notes
(17) Sex (24) DataSet-Title


If you plan to forward IIIF links of your digital objects to Europeana then please add an additional “Multimedia Object” in your ABCD metadata that carries the manifest in the “FileURI” field and the IIIF Viewer link in the “ProductURI” field.