Fresh Wounds: Metadata and Usability Lessons from building the Earthdata Search Client

Friday, 19 December 2014
Daniel Pilone1,2, Patrick Quinn1, Kevin J Murphy1 and Kathleen Baynes3, (1)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (2)Element 84, Inc., Alexandria, VA, United States, (3)Raytheon Company Riverdale, Riverdale, MD, United States
Data discovery and accessibility are frequent topics in science conferences but are usually discussed in an abstract XML schema kind-of way. In the course of designing and building the NASA Earthdata Search Client, a "concept-car" discovery client for the new Common Metadata Repository (CMR) and NASA Earthdata, we learned important lessons about usability from user studies and our actual use of science metadata. In this talk we challenge the community with the issues we ran into: the critical usability stumbling blocks for even seasoned researchers, "bug reports" from users that were ultimately usability problems in metadata, the challenges and questions that arise from incorporating "visual metadata", and the state of data access services. We intend to show that high quality metadata and real human usability factors are essential to making critical data accessible.