Data in the ALA represents either:
- a specimen—an organism, photograph, sound or other multimedia file of a species that has been scientifically collected by, and managed in, a natural history collection, a museum or herbarium
- an observation—a record of the sighting of an organism by an individual or member of an organisation such as a community environment group. Observations may be supported by a photograph, sound or other multimedia file.
Specimen and observation data are supplemented by:
- images—often drawn from Morphbank
- literature describing the species—usually taken from the Biodiversity Heritage Library
- molecular DNA data—drawn from BOLD
- identification keys
- species interaction data—often from the Species Interactions of Australia Database
- species profile (descriptive) data drawn from a wide range of sources
- nomenclatural data taken from National Species Lists
- information on the data provider
- indicators of the conservation or other sensitivity status, e.g. conservation sensitive species
- geospatial, geopolitical and environmental layers used in the Spatial Portal as an overlay on maps of species occurrence data.