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Open Digital Specimen (openDS) is the cornerstone of DiSSCo's vision for a seamless and standardised digital representation of physical specimens in Natural Science Collections. openDS serves as a comprehensive data specification, unifying diverse scientific information derived from both biological and geological specimens. Born out of the need for a structured description that integrates effortlessly into various workflows, openDS is designed to enhance the Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR) aspects of biodiversity data.

As a digital surrogate on the internet, openDS encapsulates the essence of a "Digital Specimen," offering a solution for collections ranging from marine specimens to botanical and mineralogical holdings. Leveraging established biodiversity information standards such as Darwin Core, Minimal Information Digital Specimen, Latimer Core, Access to Biological Collection Data Schema, Extension FOR Geosciences, and the emerging Global Biodiversity Information Facility Unified Model, openDS harmonises and elevates the quality and machine actionability of scientific data.

How to become involved and contribute

DiSSCo welcomes anyone who has a practical interest in Digital Specimens on the Internet and specifications for exchanging and working with them.

You can become involved and contribute by:

  • Contacting the DiSSCo Technical Team
  • Watching this github repository, and submitting or commenting on an issue.
  • Using and evaluating the specification as it emerges and providing feedback e.g., by submitting an issue or suggesting a new need.

As of 2024, DiSSCo is supported by different EU grants. A dedicated development team and other collaborators working towards a robust specification. The implementations can be seen in our current Sandbox.

Linking third-party/extended specimen data together, as openDS proposes, requires many stakeholders to test and adopt the specification. This is especially the case for integrating data at multiple levels, like: specimen, collection types, species, genomics, and cross-discipline to geology, genomics, etc. This necessitates global collaboration among all players in the landscape converging towards a single specification as far as possible.


The home of the open Digital Specimen (openDS) specification






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