National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program: Successes and Lessons Learned
Abstract:The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is widely recognized in the earth science community as possessing extensive collections of geologic and geophysical materials gathered by its research personnel. Since the USGS was established in 1879, hundreds of thousands of samples have been gathered in collections that range from localized, geographically-based assemblages to ones that are national or international in scope. These materials include, but are not limited to, rock and mineral specimens; fossils; drill cores and cuttings; geochemical standards; and soil, sediment, and geochemical samples.
The USGS National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program (NGGDPP) was established with the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Since its implementation, the USGS NGGDPP has taken an active role in providing opportunities to inventory, archive and preserve geologic and geophysical samples, and to make these samples and ancillary data discoverable on the Internet. Preserving endangered geoscience collections is more cost effective than recollecting this information. Preserving these collections, however, is only one part of the process – there also needs to be a means to facilitate open discovery and access to the physical objects and the ancillary digital records.
The NGGDPP has celebrated successes such as the development of the USGS Geologic Collections Management System (GCMS), a master catalog and collections management plan, and the implementation and advancement of the National Digital Catalog, a digital inventory and catalog of geological and geophysical data and collections held by the USGS and State geological surveys. Over this period of time there has been many lessons learned. With the successes and lessons learned, NGGDPP is poised to take on challenges the future may bring.