Biodiversity Information Science and Standards : Conference Abstract
Conference Abstract
Mapping across Standards to Calculate the MIDS Level of Digitisation of Natural Science Collections
expand article infoElspeth M Haston, Mathias Dillen§, Sam Leeflang|,, Wouter Addink|,, Claus Weiland#,¤, Dagmar Triebel«,», Eirik Rindal˄, Anke Penzlin#, Rachel Walcott˅, Josh Humphries¦, Caitlin Chapmanˀ
‡ Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
§ Meise Botanic Garden, Meise, Belgium
| Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, Netherlands
¶ Distributed System of Scientific Collections - DiSSCo, Leiden, Netherlands
# Senckenberg – Leibniz Institution for Biodiversity and Earth System Research, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
¤ DiSSCo-D, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
« Staatliche Naturwissenschaftliche Sammlungen Bayerns, SNSB IT Center, Munich, Germany
» SNSB - Botanische Staatssammlung München, Munich, Germany
˄ Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
˅ National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
¦ Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom
ˀ University of Florida, Gainseville, United States of America
Open Access


The Minimum Information about a Digital Specimen (MIDS) standard is being developed within Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) to provide a framework for organisations, communities and infrastructures to define, measure, monitor and prioritise the digitisation of specimen data to achieve increased accessibility and scientific use. MIDS levels indicate different levels of completeness in digitisation and range from Level 0: not yet meeting minimal required information needs for scientific use to Level 3: fulfilling the requirements for Digital Extended Specimens (Hardisty et al. 2022) by inclusion of persistent identifiers (PIDs) that connect the specimen with derived and related data. MIDS Levels 0–2 are generic for all specimens. From MIDS Level 2 onwards we make a distinction between biological, geological and palaeontological specimens. While MIDS represents a minimum specification, defining and publishing more extensive sets of information elements (extensions) is readily feasible and explicitly recommended.

The MIDS level of a digital specimen can be calculated based on the availability of certain information elements. The MIDS standard applies to published data. The ability to map from, to and between TDWG standards is key to being able to measure the MIDS level of the digitised specimen(s). Each MIDS term is being mapped across TDWG standards involving Darwin Core (DwC), the Access to Biological Collections Data (ABCD) Schema and Latimer Core (LtC, Woodburn et al. 2022), using mapping properties provided by the Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS) ontology.

In this presentation, we will show selected case studies that demonstrate the implementation of the MIDS standard supplemented by MIDS mappings to ABCD, to LtC, and to the Distributed System of Scientific Collections' (DISSCo) Open Digital Specimen specification. The studies show the mapping exercise in practice, with the aim of enabling fully automated and accurate calculations. To provide a reliable indicator for the level of digitisation completeness, it is important that calculations are done consistently in all implementations.


digitization, DiSSCo, MOBILISE, SYNTHESYS+, ICEDIG, minimum information standards, digital specimen

Presenting author

Elspeth M Haston

Presented at

TDWG 2023

Funding program

MOBILISE, European Union COST Action on “Mobilising Data, Experts and Policies in Scientific Collections” (Grant Agreement No. CA17106)

DiSSCo Prepare, European Union Horizon 2020-INFRADEV-2019-2020 (Grant Agreement No. 871043)

DiSSCo Flanders, funded by the Flemish Research Council (FWO) (Grant Agreement No. I001721N)

SYNTHESYS+, Europan Union Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (Grant Agreement No. 823827)

ICEDIG, European Union Horizon 2020 ICEDIG project (Grant Agreement No. 777483)

Conflicts of interest

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


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