Articles | Volume 21, issue 1
Review article
17 Jan 2018
Review article |  | 17 Jan 2018

History and development of ABCDEFG: a data standard for geosciences

Mareike Petersen, Falko Glöckler, Wolfgang Kiessling, Markus Döring, David Fichtmüller, Lertsutham Laphakorn, Brian Baltruschat, and Jana Hoffmann

Abstract. Museums and their collections have specially customized databases in order to optimally gather and record their contents and associated metadata associated with their specimens. To share, exchange, and publish data, an appropriate data standard is essential. ABCD (Access to Biological Collection Data) is a standard for biological collection units, including living and preserved specimen, together with field observation data. Its extension, EFG (Extension for Geoscience), enables sharing and publishing data related to paleontological, mineralogical, and petrological objects. The standard is very granular and allows detailed descriptions, including information about the collection event itself, the holding institution, stratigraphy, chemical analysis, and host rock. The standard extension was developed in 2006 and has been used since then by different initiatives and applied for the publication of collection-related data in domain-specific and interdisciplinary portals.

Short summary
Natural history museums harbor millions of collection items. To exchange and publish the associated data, an appropriate standard is essential. ABCD (Access to Biological Collection Data) enables together with its extension EFG (Extension for Geoscience) sharing and publishing of data related to biology, paleontological, mineralogical, and petrological objects. Here, we review the history of ABCDEFG and highlight its usage by different initiatives and for the data publication in various portals.