Biological Descriptions - BD

TDWG Interest Group (Open)


Gregor Hagedorn
Biologische Bundesanstalt für Land und Forstwirtschaft,
Königin-Luise-Str. 19, 14195
Berlin, Germany

Email: g.m.hagedorn(at)


The goal of the group is to develop standard computer-based mechanisms for expressing and transferring descriptive information about biological specimens, taxa, and similar entities such as diseases or ecosystems. The exchanged data may include terminologies, descriptions, identification data and associated resources (taxon names, specimen and publication references, etc.). The term "descriptive data" as used here is about descriptions of life on earth and limited to inherent (taxon specific) properties or traits. It is not about legal, management, event, nomenclatural, or other data that may be relevant in the study of biodiversity.

The developed standards are developed to support capture, transport, caching and archiving of descriptive data, using platform- and application-independent means. Such a standard is crucial to enabling lossless porting of data between existing and future software platforms including identification, data-mining and analysis tools, and federated databases.

Becoming Involved

All interested parties are encouraged to become involved with the interest group or specific task groups. Membership of this group is open. If you are involved in biological identification, creation or editing of digital flora or faunas, taxon descriptions, etc. and you would like to share your data with others, SDD may need your contribution.

  • If you plan a software development involving exchange of descriptive data, please contact a core member to determine if we have or know about any code or exchange standard that may help your project. This will help to use common solutions where these exist, point out omissions not yet recognized, or help prioritize known omissions.
  • If you detect problems with using the SDD Schema, please document them, either directly on the SDD Wiki, or submit your critique by email to become placed on the Wiki on your behalf.
  • If you believe a new task group is needed to address specific developments with SDD, please contact any of the Core Members about starting a new Task Group. SDD is not limited to the current XML-schema based effort!
  • The group is particularly interested in attracting people with experience in the use of Semantic Web technologies.

Please contact the convener or any core member about how to become involved.


  Last Modified: 08 November 2007