data management decisions. A key theme that emerges from these considerations is that NOAA needs to establish, codify, and maintain a formal, flexible, ongoing process for data management decision making.

This report is organized as follows. Chapter 2 provides an overview of current data management activities at NOAA and highlights some key findings and recommendations from previous reports that discuss archiving and access of environmental data at NOAA and other federal agencies. Chapter 3 presents five overarching principles that underlie effective environmental data management. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 define and describe in greater detail the three fundamental functions of a data management system: data stewardship; the decision-making process for data archiving; and data discovery, access, and integration. Each of these three chapters is organized around a single major principle, supplemented with more detailed guidelines and examples that describe and illustrate how these principles could be applied to current and future environmental data sets at NOAA. The final chapter provides one final principle and outlines how the nine principles and guidelines offered in this report, when considered in the context of NOAA’s existing data management activities and accompanied by sufficient ongoing support, could yield a reliable and cost-effective “system-of-systems” for data management that meets or exceeds anticipated user requirements.

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