The New Online Metadata Editor for Generating Structured Metadata

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Ranjeet Devarakonda1, Biva Shrestha2, Giriprakash Palanisamy1, Leslie Hook3, Terri Killeffer2, Tom Boden3, Robert B Cook1, Lisa Zolly4, Viv Hutchison4, Mike Thomas Frame5, Alice T Cialella6 and Kathy Lazer6, (1)Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, United States, (2)Oak Ridge National Lab, Oak Ridge, TN, United States, (3)Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge, TN, United States, (4)USGS Core Science Analytics, Synthesis, and Libraries, Denver, United States, (5)USGS Headquarters, Reston, VA, United States, (6)Brookhaven National Laboratory - BNL, New York, United States
Nobody is better suited to “describe” data than the scientist who created it. This “description” about a data is called Metadata. In general terms, Metadata represents the who, what, when, where, why and how of the dataset. eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is the preferred output format for metadata, as it makes it portable and, more importantly, suitable for system discoverability. The newly developed ORNL Metadata Editor (OME) is a Web-based tool that allows users to create and maintain XML files containing key information, or metadata, about the research. Metadata include information about the specific projects, parameters, time periods, and locations associated with the data. Such information helps put the research findings in context. In addition, the metadata produced using OME will allow other researchers to find these data via Metadata clearinghouses like Mercury [1] [2]. Researchers simply use the ORNL Metadata Editor to enter relevant metadata into a Web-based form.

How is OME helping Big Data Centers like ORNL DAAC? The ORNL DAAC is one of NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) data centers managed by the ESDIS Project. The ORNL DAAC archives data produced by NASA's Terrestrial Ecology Program. The DAAC provides data and information relevant to biogeochemical dynamics, ecological data, and environmental processes, critical for understanding the dynamics relating to the biological components of the Earth's environment. Typically data produced, archived and analyzed is at a scale of multiple petabytes, which makes the discoverability of the data very challenging. Without proper metadata associated with the data, it is difficult to find the data you are looking for and equally difficult to use and understand the data. OME will allow data centers like the ORNL DAAC to produce meaningful, high quality, standards-based, descriptive information about their data products in-turn helping with the data discoverability and interoperability.
[1] Devarakonda, Ranjeet, et al. "Mercury: reusable metadata management, data discovery and access system." Earth Science Informatics 3.1-2 (2010): 87-94.

[2] Wilson, Bruce E., et al. "Mercury Toolset for Spatiotemporal Metadata." NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) (2010).