Biodiversity Information Science and Standards : Conference Abstract
Conference Abstract
MIDS: The digitisation standard for Natural Science collections
expand article infoElspeth M Haston, Cat Chapman§
‡ Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
§ University of Florida, Gainesville, United States of America
Open Access


The digitisation standard, MIDS (Minimum Information about a Digital Specimen), has been developed to provide a clear definition for the level of digitisation of the specimens held in natural science collections. The standard comprises three levels of digitisation:

  • Level 1 (Basic) is equivalent to a virtual cabinet or drawer in the collection;
  • Level 2 (Regular) provides information needed for most research;
  • Level 3 (Extended) provides all information on the specimen itself as well as links to associated resources.

A pre-digitisation Level 0 (Bare) allows for the citation of the specimen and the attachment of additional information. The standard has been developed through the collaboration of people representing digitisation, curation, data management, software development and research. The development has been coordinated within the TDWG MIDS Task Group. The aim has been to develop a standard that will fulfill the needs of those managing digitisation programmes (e.g., estimating costs, priorities) as well as the users of the digitised specimens (e.g., informing potential data users of a collection’s data richness).


digitization, TDWG MIDS Task Group

Presenting author

Elspeth M Haston

Presented at

TDWG 2022


We would like to acknowledge the work of all the members of the TDWG MIDS Task Group. This work was supported by European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) as part of the MOBILISE Action CA17106 on Mobilising Data, Experts and Policies in Scientific Collections; SYNTHESYS+ a Research and Innovation Action (Grant agreement 823827) and DiSSCo Prepare a Coordination and Support Action (Grant Agreement 871043), both funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union.

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