Recent Metadata News

White House releases Open Government Directive

The White House recently released an Open Government Directive as another step to ensuring government data is available to the American people and to "promote informed participation by the public." In response to this, the directive states that "within 45 days each agency shall identify and publish online in an open format at least three high-value data sets and register those data sets via" In addition, these newly registered datasets must be ones that were not previously available for public download.

New Feature for Metadata launched a year ago to help researchers discover "who's researching what", view papers and presentations by fellow researchers, and stay connected in their community. They recently set up a Metadata mailing list. Visit this link:; and sign up through a series of simple steps to view current members of the Metadata list.

NEPTUNE Canada Goes Live December 8!

NEPTUNE Canada is going live with a powerful new web application, Oceans 2.0 Data Explorer, enabling users to explore instruments, data, and video streaming real-time from their "regional-scale underwater ocean observatory" in the northeast Pacific. Requires a simple user registration to "surf the seafloor". 

NEPTUNE Canada's website:

Nature special issue on scientific data sharing

The 9 September 2009 issue of Nature contains a series of articles on the current state of scientific data sharing. It includes an editorial on the "shameful" neglect of data sharing in the scientific research community, a feature story on "Empty Archives" investigating why data repositories aren't being used even after the technical infrastructure is in place, and two opinion papers, one on prepublication data sharing and one on postpublication data sharing.

Selected quotes from the various articles include:

Data's shameful neglect

Research cannot flourish if data are not preserved and made accessible. All concerned must act accordingly.

OOI Moves From Concept, Through Planning, to Building!

OOI LogoBeginning in September, 2009, the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) will build and deploy a worldwide network of sensors. This infrastructure project will enable the collection and distribution of data, which will be used to address many of the complex questions faced by the marine community.  Completion date for the network deployment is projected to be 2014.  Participation by the wider scientific community is encouraged.  To see how you can be involved, visit the OOI website.

Could the web really understand my question?

W3CPicture this - you sit down to your computer, access the web, and type ocean depth. Instead of endless pages of related and unrelated hits, the computer returns very targeted results - perhaps a bathymetric map of the world, or a peer-reviewed paper on the computational methods for converting magnetic data to ocean depth, or the data search page at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), or the average ocean depth (miles or kilometers).  In this vision, you've accessed a single entry point to virtually millions of well-formed results.

This scenario illustrates the promise of the semantic web. An end-user presents a human-understandable query to the web, and the web depends on well-formed knowledge systems to assign computer-understandable meaning. The work of metadata managers and vocabulary/ontology developers are effectively leveraged with computational power to assign meaning and computable understanding. The recent W3C announcement of an SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organization System) standard [1] will effectively enable the semantic web for millions of internet users worldwide by connecting knowledge organization systems with linked data.

Community Ontology Developments

There is a slowly emerging trend in earth science informatics: creation of community ontologies.

Here and there ontologies have been under development for many years, whether on individual projects or team efforts. But the number and scale of the ontologies being created has been increasing lately. 

Here are a few of the ontologies being developed by widely distributed communities of practitioners.

AGU Reaffirms the Importance of Long Term Preservation and Access of Geophysical Data

American Geophysical Union (AGU)

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) recently revised and reaffirmed a position statement entitled "The Importance of Long-term Preservation and Accessibility of Geophysical Data." The significance of the role of formal metadata is clearly recognized, and endorsed.

Invitation to Participate in a Review of the Darwin Core Standard

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative LogoThe International Working Group on Taxonomic Databases (TDWG) has begun a public review of the Darwin Core Standard. Based on Dublin Core, Darwin Core enables sharing of biodiversity information.

Public Review Period of Darwin Core continues through at least August 10, 2009


Scientific findings in a digital world: What is the genuine article?

Science Findings Poster Image
The Nature Network is hosting an online forum to discuss Scientific Findings in a Digital World. Led by John Milbank, this forum will cover a variety of issues, including:

  • Looking Good on Paper
  • Video Killed the Methods Section
  • Share and Share Alike
  • On Common Ground

By necessity, these discussions of data publishing issues will also address marine metadata issues; British attempts to generate unique identifiers for data sets are also likely to be addressed.

“Planetary Skin” Tool Aims to Improve Response to Climate Change

NASA, Cisco collaborate to integrate climate data, Web technology. The Planetary Skin platform will capture, collect, analyze and report data on environmental conditions around the world.

From the original article:

Capitol Hill Oceans Week 2009

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is coordinating the Capitol Hill Oceans Week 2009. The goal of this year's Capitol Hill Ocean Week is to highlight the inextricable link between the ocean and the economy, and to suggest tangible ways sound ocean policies might impact improvements in our economy.

Oceans Week 2009 is sponsored by a mix of public and private sponsors. The event takes place June 9- 11, 2009. The three-day event is focused on informing the Congressional Delegation on ocean issues and their effects on our nation's economy.

Additions and improvements to the MMI Guides

The Guides Team has been working very hard this year in order to advance and expand the MMI Guides. We recently published an enhanced Ontologies section that includes many new guides, greatly expands other guides, and improves the organization of the section. This brings the total number of guides to 76, each professionally reviewed by experienced metadata practitioners.

We have also implemented a new format for the Guides, with many new features. We encourage you to read about them and take a look for yourself.

ICAN Explores Coastal Web Atlas Use

ICAN Atlas User Survey The International Coastal Atlas Network (ICAN) project invites you to participate in its Coastal Atlas User Survey! This survey explores the use and design of coastal atlases, in order to develop recommendations for their development


The Promise of Sensor Web Enablement

Sensor web enablement on mine environmental monitoringIn a January, 2009 article in SA Instrumentation & Control, the promise of the semantic web is shown using a mining industry example. By implementing freely available tools and services, this case study illustrates the benefit of interoperability, combining multiple data streams in a single interface. Partially based on the tools developed by OOSTethys, this system presents data and graphs in a user-friendly web-accesible search engine.

Explore the Oceans with Google Earth

On February 2, 2009, Google invited the world to "take a plunge into the oceans of the world" with Google Earth 5.0. After working with an extensive group of partners, Google incorporated bathymetry, guided tours of areas, ocean observations, recreational sites, biological and environmental data into the new "Oceans" layer. All of this information was encoded into the OGC-approved KML format, and made freely available in the Google Earth interface.

Newly Released WMS to KML Conversion Service

WMS to KML Conversion Service AnnouncedUsing an eXtensible Stylesheet Language Translation (XSLT), the developers at the Earth Data Analysis Center (EDAC) recently released a new WMS to KML conversion service.

More information is available on the EDAC page.

OGC Needs Your Help!

Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc Have you ever used, or considered using OGC or OpenGIS® standards? The OGC wants to hear from you! The recently released survey on Business Benefits of Using OGC Standards will provide valuable input to research on standards development organizations and standards effectiveness. It will also help to identify and fulfill geospatial interoperability needs.

MMI and You at AGU

MMI had a strong presence again at AGU this year, and offers its readers some helpful tips and access to content.

We have collected references to a number of abstracts that are written by MMI contributors and/or address key metadata issues. This page references abstracts from MMI contributors, a list of MMI-related AGU presentations that we have posted on this site, an itinerary of all data management and semantic presentations at AGU, and other useful references.

Please feel free to contact the authors for more information on their material!

Be a part of the e-Science action

IEEE is offering a unique opportunity to participate in this year's e-Science conference, taking place December 7–11, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Members of the e-Science community are invited to participate in live-webcasts, dynamic chat sessions, conference blogs—even Twitter.

A number of oceans-related and metadata-related sessions will be presented.  Sessions with a dynamic web presence include the following:

Streaming Data Exploration and Visualization through Science Workflows and Provenance
International Grid Interoperability and Interoperation Workshop 2008 (IGIIW 2008)

Semantic-Driven Data Intensive Flows in the Clouds

Semantics - the Silver Lining of Cloud Computing

Adding Value to Data - Digital Repositories in the e-Science World

Complete schedule available online

Describing Ocean Data Management Strategies

Figure 3 from the Baker, Chandler ArticleIn their paper published last month in Deep-Sea Research II, Baker and Chandler (2008) describe twelve strategies for managing complex ocean data systems.

Registration open for Semantic Interoperability workshop!

Simple Semantic Framework Ontologies—Tools—Web Services: Alone, each is powerful. Combined in a system, they can form a comprehensive Semantic Framework. MMI, in collaboration with our partners, has developed a set of tools into a user-friendly system for data providers and users. This Semantic Interoperability workshop is your opportunity to learn from our efforts.

Big Data Translates into Big Opportunities... and Big Responsibilities

Nature Cover, September 4, 2008
In recognition of the 10th anniversary of Google, Nature Magazine presents a look at big data. Many of the articles point to the inundation of data, and demonstrate the need for tools like the semantic web. Just as Google transformed the way we search web content, the semantic web will present innovative ways to store, find, and use scientific data. The semantic web, while virtually invisible, facilitates organization of data in a machine-readable fashion. This organization enables diverse datasets to be connected, using metadata.

Learn from OOSTethys Experience—OGC Oceans IE Report Released

SOSIn the world of increasing web connectivity, data providers have a variety of options for representing and exchanging point data records from fixed in-situ marine platforms. For some time, OOSTethys experimented with interoperable data services for this purpose, and its companion project the Ocean Sciences Interoperability Experiment (OceansIE) was created to investigate the use of OGC Web Feature Services (WFS) and OGC Sensor Observation Services (SOS).

The recently released Phase I report presents best practices and lessons learned from this investigation.

BioPortal 2.0 Released!

BioPortal Ontology VisualizationBioPortal allows users to browse, upload, download, search, comment on, and create mappings for ontologies.

This newly updated portal allows users to find ontologies based on a variety of criterion, including subject, concept, class name, and attribute. Users can also explore/download ontologies and mappings.

New features in BioPortal 2.0 include: