GBIF Registry of Scientific Collections

Cephalotes integerrimus. Photo by Vincent Perrichot via AntWeb, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

This registry of scientific collections builds on GRSciColl, a comprehensive, community-curated clearinghouse of collections information originally developed by Consortium of the Barcode of Life (CBOL).

The collections registry includes data on institutions, collections and associated staff members and spans all scientific disciplines, including earth and space sciences, anthropology, archaeology, biology and biomedicine, as well as applied fields like agriculture, veterinary medicine and technology.

The collections registry also serves as the registry for InstitutionCodes and CollectionCodes—elements used in the DarwinCore data standard used in the biodiversity informatics community. Use of these terms enables publications and databases to point unambiguously to collections and their contents.

The main goals of GRSciColl were to:

  1. Improve access to information about institutions the scientific collections they hold and to facilitate access to the staff members who manage them
  2. Improve interoperability among databases by providing unique codes and machine-readable identifiers for institutions and collections

The current phase of development has opened the registry to validated users for submissions and edits. Subsequent stages will engage other partners to add functionality like linking collections to specimens, tracking DOI-based citations of collections, and supporting or enhancing various collection metadata schemas.

GRSciColl data sources and maintenance

Staff members from institutions and collections originally contributed the information contained in GRSciColl, either directly or through partners and predecessors like the Index Herbariorum (IH), the NCBI Institution table and Collection table,, or the Biodiversity Collections Index.

GBIF is working with partners to streamline and standardize information flows between this registry and other key collections infrastructures. Work has advanced in synchronizing information between Index Herbariorum and the collections registered here, with IH continuing to serve as the authoritative record for entries included in its system. We are migrating content from the iDigBio collection registry, taking a step toward an integrated registry that delivers consistent content and shared editing access to users of both and

GBIF has restored community-curation functionality, enabling those working within each of the institutions and collections to help maintain up-to-date information in the registry.

If you have questions or are interested in curating information for your institutions and collections, please contact us at