[API-users] Update of GBIF occurrence index to latest Darwin Core standard

Matthew Blissett mblissett at gbif.org
Fri Jan 28 15:23:52 UTC 2022

Dear API users,

Next week we will update the GBIF.org occurrence index, API and website 
to align with updates to the Darwin Core standard released last year.

Two changes deserve attention, as they may need minor changes to 
existing code, scripts, queries etc:

1) A new basis of record, Material Citation, replaces the obsolete 
Literature basis of record.  Literature was removed from Darwin Core 
some years ago, but GBIF's index retained the term since existing 
datasets were using it.  These records will now appear as Material 
Citations, which has a broader definition: 

Additionally, the "Unknown" basis of record will no longer be used, 
instead records will be shown with an "Occurrence" basis of record.

2) The existing term Establishment Means now has an official vocabulary 
in Darwin Core.  The old GBIF enumeration will no longer be used, and 
values of this term will instead be matched to an element of the new 

See https://dwc.tdwg.org/list/#dwc_establishmentMeans for the term 
definition and https://dwc.tdwg.org/em/ for the new vocabulary. GBIF's 
vocabulary used for interpretation (containing synonyms etc) is here: 

3) The terms Recorded By ID, Identified By ID and Subgenus are now part 
of Darwin Core, and move from a GBIF namespace to the TDWG namespace.  
(The change is visible in meta.xml files of Darwin Core Archive 
downloads, and on verbatim occurrence records.)

Other changes include:

4) The new terms Degree of Establishment and Pathway are also supported, 
in the same way as Establishment Means.

https://dwc.tdwg.org/list/#dwc_degreeOfEstablishment / 
https://dwc.tdwg.org/doe/ / 

https://dwc.tdwg.org/list/#dwc_pathway / https://dwc.tdwg.org/pw/ / 

5) New/additional terms including Vertical Datum, Verbatim 
Identification, Subfamily, Infrageneric Epithet and Cultivar Epithet 
will be shown on occurrences.  Note these are not yet interpreted — 
interpreting the taxonomic terms will require support from the GBIF 
Backbone Taxonomy and Checklistbank.

The IPT's schemas will also be updated to allow publication of datasets 
using these changed or updated terms.  We will write to the IPT mailing 
list with further details on this.

Best regards,

Matt Blissett

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