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Darwin Core

Term name



An identifier (preferably unique) for the record within the data set or collection.

Apple Core





With the exception of otherCatalogNumbers and recordNumber, provide only a single value per term (no concatenated lists).

institutionCode, institutionID, collectionCode, collectionID, datasetID and often datasetName are typically the same for all specimen records in a collection dataset. It is useful to provide them for each record, as it allows to reference an individual specimen, but they can be described in more detail in the dataset metadata. {KCP: is this needed here}?

Specimen {or catalog? KCP comment} number

The specimen {catalog? KCP comment} number is the primary identifier used by the herbarium to identify and reference a single specimen. This string of characters is typically stamped, sticked, printed or written on to the physical specimen and may be called the barcode number, accession number or catalogue {catalogue or catalog?KCP comment} number. It is strongly recommended to use a unique specimen number for each specimen in the herbarium.

Publish the specimen number in catalogNumber. On its own or in combination with the collectionCode it ideally creates a global unique identifier for each specimen record in the dataset. If specimen numbers are only unique within subcollections (or catalog number series) of the herbarium, it is useful to prefix the specimen number with a subcollection or series code (e.g. BRYO-10001, VASC-10001). In addition, the subcollection name can be published in datasetName.

If the specimen number is unique for each specimen, publish it in occurrenceID as well. This term is mandatory for datasets published via the GBIF IPT and is not supposed to change. Alternatively, you can use a persistent ID generated by your database. If your collection cannot provide a stable and unique identifier, IPT can generate one for you (based on the line number). Ideally you would copy this generated ID back to your database, so it is stored at the source.

Any specimen identifier attached to the specimen that is not used as the primary specimen number or collector number may be published in otherCatalogNumbers. This can include the specimen number from the original herbaria in the case of an exchange or donation. Separate identifiers with "|" or "; ".

Controlled vocabulary


Usage examples

Example # institutionCode institutionID collectionCode collectionID datasetName datasetID catalogNumber occurrenceID otherCatalogNumbers recordNumber
1 Université de Montréal Biodiversity Centre ff7bd5db-b724-4932-b496-10ea298851f9 MT Bryophytes ada5d0b1-07de-4dc0-83d4-e312f0fb81cb MT00168679 168979 DAO-94042/SFS-102678 4376
2 University of British Columbia b542788f-0dc2-4a2b-b652-fceced449591 UBC Vascular Plants V96119 319 9072
3 Harvard University A barcode-00016549 40

Other resources