TABLE 2-5 Criteria for Determining Which Geoscience Data and Collections to Preserve

Criteria

Well Documentedd

Irreplaceablee

Potential Applicationsf

Accurate

Quality/ Completeness

Non-Replicative

Collections:

 

Cuttings

X

x

x

X

_

X

Engineeringa

X

x

x

X

x

_

Fossils

X

x

x

X

x

_

Geophysicalb

X

x

x

_

x

X

Maps/Notesc

X

x

x

_

x

X

Mining Cores

X

x

x

X

x

_

Other Rock Cores

X

x

x

X

x

X

Sediment & Ice Cores

X

x

x

X

X

_

X = present or necessary for preservation (i.e., absence = candidate for deaccession).

x = may be present and may be a factor for preservation (i.e., absence may not be a factor for deaccession).

_ = not present and not necessary for preservation (i.e., absence is not a factor in deaccession).

Criteria are arranged from left to right in approximately decreasing order of importance (but see text for further explanation and elaboration).

Collections are arranged alphabetically.

aIncludes drill stem tests, completion records, site reports, and other engineering data/reports on CD, computer disk, fiche, paper, tape, or some other quasi-stable medium.

bIncludes seismic data, down-hole geophysical data, fly-over geophysical data, and other geophysical data on CD, computer disk, fiche, paper, tape, or some other quasi-stable medium.

cIncludes unpublished materials on CD, computer disk, fiche, paper, tape, or some other quasi-stable medium, whether or not they were used in the production of published products.

dAll collections must be well documented before any other assessment of their utility and future can be done. Indeed, whether or not a rock, fossil, core, or other item is replaceable or not is completely unknown in the absence adequate documentation to assess uniqueness. That said, if part of a collection is not replaceable, but only documented well enough to know that it is unique, it probably should be kept anyway. Documentation includes, but is not limited to, information about age, location, depth, collector or author, date acquired, and associated materials.

eImpossible or highly unlikely to collect a similar sample (e.g., a mine core from a completely mined-out locality; a sample from a politically inaccessible part of the world; a sample requiring great time and effort to recollect such as a deep ice core from Antarctica or Greenland).

fThis category in particular should be weighed judiciously by a science advisory board comprised of members of the user community.

not) a collection is. A critical collection, key fossil, or pivotal core may be completely unused if its whereabouts is unknown to most people. This most often occurs because of inadequate metadata (data about the collection). Clearly, in these instances, if the collection were known, it would be used. Consequently, its lack of use is an inappropriate measure of its importance or future relevance (if appropriate metadata are provided).

Use statistics are inappropriate for a second reason; immediate use is not necessarily an indicator of future use, even if the metadata are well known and well established (see chapter 1 for examples of unanticipated use). Future use is difficult to predict, but almost always hinges on the otherwise assessable criterion of documentation. Poorly documented geoscience data and collections almost never have any future.

Also not present in the criteria listed in Table 2-5 is cost. The committee specifically avoided the issue of cost in determining which geoscience data and collections to discard and which to keep because this is best determined at a local level.

Table 2-6 summarizes general guidelines for assessing donation and reception priorities for donors and recipients of geoscience data and collections. Table 2-5 and Table 2-6 should be used in concert with each other. They also should be used with caution. It was neither the committee’s desire to be overly prescriptive or limiting about setting priorities for accepting geoscience data and collections, nor was it the committee’s intent that these criteria be applied without consideration and input from user communities. For this reason, the committee concludes that close, meaningful involvement of external science advisory boards, which includes membership of an expert able to assess metadata issues and other issues of discovery and accessibility, is vital. Sidebar 2-11 illustrates the role of such a board in advising the managers of the National Ice Core Laboratory in Lakewood, Colorado. The science advisory structure for the Ocean Drilling Program is illustrated in Figure 4-1.

Science advisory boards are in the best position to give realistic recommendations (as opposed to the unrealistic recommendation of keep everything) about what to keep against the backdrop of what might be needed in the future. Because of the complexity of such decisions, they should never be left to any single person. Broad, community-based input using community-driven criteria is the best approach for assessing which geoscience data and collections merit retention and which should be discarded.



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