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Environmental Data Management at Noaa: Archiving, Stewardship, and Access ENVIRONMENTAL DATA MANAGEMENT AT NOAA ARCHIVING, STEWARDSHIP, AND ACCESS Committee on Archiving and Accessing Environmental and Geospatial Data at NOAA Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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Environmental Data Management at Noaa: Archiving, Stewardship, and Access THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. DG133R04CQ0009 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 0-309-11209-3 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-11209-5 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2007 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Environmental Data Management at Noaa: Archiving, Stewardship, and Access THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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Environmental Data Management at Noaa: Archiving, Stewardship, and Access COMMITTEE ON ARCHIVING AND ACCESSING ENVIRONMENTAL AND GEOSPATIAL DATA AT NOAA DAVID A. ROBINSON (Chair), Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey DAVID C. BADER, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California DONALD M. BURGESS, University of Oklahoma, Norman KENNETH E. EIS, Colorado State University, Fort Collins SARA J. GRAVES, University of Alabama, Huntsville ERNEST G. HILDNER III, NOAA Space Environment Center (retired), Boulder, Colorado KENNETH E. KUNKEL, Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, Illinois MARK A. PARSONS, University of Colorado, Boulder MOHAN K. RAMAMURTHY, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado DEBORAH K. SMITH, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts JOHN R. G. TOWNSHEND, University of Maryland, College Park PAUL D. TRY, Science and Technology Corporation, Williamsburg, Virginia STEVEN J. WORLEY, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado XUBIN ZENG, The University of Arizona, Tucson NRC Staff IAN KRAUCUNAS, Study Director ELIZABETH A. GALINIS, Research Associate ROB GREENWAY, Senior Program Assistant
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Environmental Data Management at Noaa: Archiving, Stewardship, and Access BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE F. SHERWOOD ROWLAND (Chair), University of California, Irvine M. JOAN ALEXANDER, NorthWest Research Associates/CORA, Boulder, Colorado MICHAEL L. BENDER, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey ROSINA M. BIERBAUM, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor CAROL ANNE CLAYSON, Florida State University, Tallahassee WALTER F. DABBERDT, Vaisala Inc., Boulder, Colorado KERRY A. EMANUEL, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge DENNIS L. HARTMANN, University of Washington, Seattle PETER R. LEAVITT, Weather Information Inc., Newton, Massachusetts JENNIFER A. LOGAN, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts VERNON R. MORRIS, Howard University, Washington, D.C. THOMAS H. VONDER HAAR, Colorado State University/CIRA, Fort Collins Ex Officio Members ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI JR., University of Maryland, College Park NRC Staff CHRIS ELFRING, Director IAN KRAUCUNAS, Program Officer CURTIS MARSHALL, Program Officer CLAUDIA MENGELT, Program Officer ELIZABETH A. GALINIS, Research Associate LEAH PROBST, Research Associate ROB GREENWAY, Senior Program Assistant KATIE WELLER, Senior Program Assistant SHUBHA BANSKOTA, Financial Associate
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Environmental Data Management at Noaa: Archiving, Stewardship, and Access Preface The National Research Council (NRC) impaneled this committee in response to a request from the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide high-level advice on how to archive and provide access to the broad range of environmental data NOAA and its partners collect. With finite resources and enormous growth in data volumes, NOAA seeks input on how to identify the observations, model output, and derived products that must be preserved in perpetuity and made readily accessible versus those that require shorter storage life spans or more limited access. The committee’s full statement of task is included in Appendix A. NOAA is to be commended for addressing its data archiving and access challenges and for seeking external advice for such critical endeavors. This final report expands on an interim report in which the committee proposed preliminary principles and guidelines for archiving the environmental data that NOAA currently collects (NRC, 2006). These preliminary ideas, which focused mainly on data archiving, have been refined and expanded to encompass issues of data discovery, access, and integration, as well as data stewardship. Our intent is to provide a foundation for NOAA, its partners, and its community of data users to build on as they continue to develop their data archiving and access systems. For example, NOAA’s Data Archiving and Access Requirements (DAAR) Working Group (see Appendix D) will use these principles and guidelines
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Environmental Data Management at Noaa: Archiving, Stewardship, and Access as they provide ongoing advice to NOAA’s Science Advisory Board on specific data management activities. As part of its deliberations in preparing its interim and final reports, the committee met five times over a 12-month period. At several meetings, representatives from across NOAA provided briefings on their data management and archiving activities. A “NOAA Data Users–Data Managers Forum,” held in October 2006, brought together individuals from NOAA, other federal agencies, educational institutions, and the private sector to discuss issues of data and product discovery, access, and delivery. This event proved to be exceedingly beneficial to the committee, as were the briefings we received at other meetings regarding NOAA’s Data Management Report (NOAA, 2006a) and the plans of the DAAR Working Group. We also received input describing NOAA’s legal requirements as they relate to data management and archiving; the relative costs of saving certain types of derived data products versus regenerating these products from archived first-stream data; the challenges associated with interagency cooperation on data management issues; and the value to society of archiving and facilitating the discovery, access, and delivery of a broad variety of environmental data. The primary result of the committee’s effort, and the main focus of this report, is a series of high-level principles that are essential for effective environmental data management. Many of these principles are accompanied by explanatory guidelines intended to help NOAA and its partners apply these principles to their ongoing data management planning. The three main data management functions—data stewardship, data archiving, and data access—are explored in individual chapters. The final chapter describes the essential components and attributes of an integrated, enterprise-wide data management system at NOAA. Background and discussion are provided to help readers understand the context, basis, and implications of each principle and guideline, and case studies are used to illustrate key points where appropriate. The committee received input from a large number of individuals as it prepared its interim and final reports. The committee would especially like to thank Tom Karl (Director, National Climatic Data Center), Chris Fox (Director, National Geophysical Data Center), Zdenka Willis (former director, National Oceanographic Data Center), and their administrative staffs. Thanks are also offered to the following individuals within NOAA: John Bates, Richard Brooks, Kurt Schnebele, Bonnie Ponwith, Susan McLean, Richard Beeler, Donald Collins, Steve Murawski, Dru Smith, Marc Hodges, Mark Anderes, Maureen Kenny, James O’Sullivan, Rick Visbulis, Glenn Rutledge, Steve DelGreco, Neal Lott, Tim Owen, Fred Branski, Robert Bunge, Tim Birdsong, Tony LaVoi, Roy Mendelsson, Keith Dixon, Jaeson Abraham, and Steve Hankin. Our gratitude to those from
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Environmental Data Management at Noaa: Archiving, Stewardship, and Access other agencies and organizations who participated in the Data Users–Data Managers Forum, including Mark Russo, Michael Reiter, John Schalles, Kathy Strebe, Lee Branscome, Robert Chadduck, Dave Jones, Tamara Ledley, Patricia Liggett, Martha Maiden, Paul Pisano, and Larry Robinson. The insights of Robert Serafin, then Chair of the NRC’s Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC), BASC member Roger Wakimoto, and DAAR Working Group chair Ferris Webster are also greatly appreciated. On behalf of the entire committee, I would also like to express gratitude to Ian Kraucunas, Elizabeth Galinis, and Rob Greenway of the NRC staff for their excellent support throughout our endeavor. Finally, I would like to thank my fellow committee members for their enthusiastic participation and excellent contributions. This report reflects their dedication to the science community and illustrates their belief that by providing high-level advice on NOAA’s data management activities, they can make a difference. David A. Robinson, Chair Committee on Archiving and Accessing Environmental and Geospatial Data at NOAA
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Environmental Data Management at Noaa: Archiving, Stewardship, and Access Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Peter Backlund, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado Roberta Balstad, Columbia University, Palisades, New York Suzanne Carbotte, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York Peter Cornillon, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett William J. Emery, University of Colorado, Boulder Bryan Lawrence, British Atmospheric Data Centre, Chilton, Oxfordshire, UK Vincent V. Salomonson, University of Utah, Salt Lake City Donald Sawyer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Greenbelt, Maryland Tamara Shapiro Ledley, TERC, Cambridge, Massachusetts
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Environmental Data Management at Noaa: Archiving, Stewardship, and Access Soroosh Sorooshian, University of California, Irvine Jose Zero, Intel Corporation, Cloverdale, California Although the reviewers listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report’s conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. Lee Branscome, Climatological Consulting Corporation, oversaw the review of this report. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring panel and the NRC.
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Environmental Data Management at Noaa: Archiving, Stewardship, and Access Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 9 2 BACKGROUND 12 Data Management at NOAA, 12 Previous Work, 26 3 OVERARCHING PRINCIPLES 32 4 DATA STEWARDSHIP 41 Data and Metadata Preservation, 43 Scientific Assessment and Improvement, 46 Data Support Services and Tools, 50 Data Stewardship at NOAA, 52 5 WHAT TO ARCHIVE 55 Data Types, 57 The Importance of Stakeholder Involvement, 64 6 DATA DISCOVERY, ACCESS, AND INTEGRATION 69 User Considerations, 70 Discovery, 72 Barriers to Access, 77 Integration, 81
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Environmental Data Management at Noaa: Archiving, Stewardship, and Access 7 INTEGRATED DATA MANAGEMENT AT NOAA 85 Vision and Framework, 86 Concluding Thoughts, 94 REFERENCES 96 APPENDIXES A STATEMENT OF TASK 101 B BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS 102 C NOAA DATA, INFORMATION, AND PRODUCTS 109 D TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR NOAA’S DATA ARCHIVING AND ACCESS REQUIREMENTS (DAAR) WORKING GROUP 112 E ACRONYMS AND INITIALISMS 114