To the Geoportal and Beyond! Preparing the Earth Observing Laboratory’s Datasets for Inter-Repository Discovery

Friday, 19 December 2014
Sean Gordon1, Eric Dattore2 and Steve Williams2, (1)University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL, United States, (2)National Center for Atmospheric Research, Earth Observing Laboratory, Boulder, CO, United States
Even when a data center makes it's datasets accessible, they can still be hard to discover if the user is unaware of the laboratory or organization the data center supports. NCAR’s Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) is no exception. In response to this problem and as an inquiry into the feasibility of inter-connecting all of NCAR's repositories at a discovery layer, ESRI’s Geoportal was researched. It was determined that an implementation of Geoportal would be a good choice to build a proof of concept model of inter-repository discovery around. This collaborative project between the University of Illinois and NCAR is coordinated through the Data Curation Education in Research Centers program. This program is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.<p">Geoportal is open source software. It serves as an aggregation point for metadata catalogs of earth science datasets, with a focus on geospatial information. EOL’s metadata is in static THREDDS catalogs. Geoportal can only create records from a THREDDS Data Server. The first step was to make EOL metadata more accessible by utilizing the ISO 19115-2 standard. It was also decided to create DIF records so EOL datasets could be ingested in NASA’s Global Change Master Directory (GCMD). <p">To offer records for harvest, it was decided to develop an OAI-PMH server. To make a compliant server, the OAI_DC standard was also implemented. A server was written in Perl to serve a set of static records. We created a sample set of records in ISO 19115-2, FGDC, DIF, and OAI_DC. We utilized GCMD shared vocabularies to enhance discoverability and precision. The proof of concept was tested and verified by having another NCAR laboratory’s Geoportal harvest our sample set. <p">To prepare for production, templates for each standard were developed and mapped to the database. These templates will help the automated creation of records. Once the OAI-PMH server is re-written in a Grails framework a dynamic representation of EOL’s metadata will be available for harvest. <p">EOL will need to develop an implementation of a Geoportal and point GCMD to the OAI-PMH server. We will also seek out partnerships with other earth science and related discipline repositories that can communicate by OAI-PMH or Geoportal so that the scientific community will benefit from more discoverable data.