Annual LTER Information Managers Meeting: Status and Trends

Network News Fall 1998, Vol. 11 No. 2
Network News

The annual LTER Information Managers Meeting was held July 30-August 1 1998, hosted by the new, urban Baltimore LTER Site. Twenty of the 21 sites were represented with Cedar Creek not represented. Additional guests included Rick Clutter, National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), Baruch Institute; Cheryl Solomon, NASA Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) project; Dick Olson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, DAAC project; and Miguel Acevedo, IM Committee for the Latin America Network.

Status reports were presented on the LTER Network Information System (NIS), including an NIS overview, the Data Table of Contents project (DTOC), the Climate Database project (ClimDB), and the Site Description Database project (SiteDB). During 1997-1998 development of the Network Information System (NIS) focused on moving the data table-of-contents data catalog to the Network Office, porting the CLIMDB climate database to new database software preparatory to installation on LTERNET and refining the content list for the prototype site description database (SiteDB).

The LTER Coordinating Committee was solicited for input on SiteDB contents at the fall 1998 meeting. The Network Office presented a detailed report on network activities, databases, personnel, International LTER (ILTER), KDI proposals, remote sensing activities, and the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS).

Other reports included knowledge management (or mechanisms on how we might organize ourselves to preserve our collective wisdom), the eXtensible Markup Language (XML), web publishing issues, and ESA publishing of peer-reviewed data papers. Special visitor reports included the Oak Ridge DAAC and the Latin American ILTER program. Slides from many of these presentations are available on the web at:

Working groups focused attention on

  1. Future development of the NIS
  2. Writing an explicit statement on the ethical use of online data (following up on discussions recent CC meetings)
  3. Reviewing LTER Information Management (IM) outreach, Minimum Standard Installation (MSI), LTER 2000 meeting activities, and the Y2K problem

A final working session discussed the IM Committee’s collaboration with the Northwest Alliance of Computational Science and Engineering (NACSE), and the writing of four pilot proposals to NACSE. These included "Graphical display of data on WWW" (C. Wasser, SGS), "Integrated Data Visualization" (N. Gardiner, CWT), "Generic tools for WWW/Database Interaction" (R. Stubbs, NTL), and "Development of Tools and Procedures for Replicating Content from LTER Site Databases" (P. McCartney, CAP)

A closed LTER Data Manager session was conducted to review visitor participation at the annual LTER IM meeting and to conduct DataTask elections. The IM Committee also unanimously adopted the creation of a chairperson position to bring the LTER IM Committee structure in line with the structure of other LTER committees. Susan Stafford was unanimously elected as chair. This change was ratified by the Coordinating Committee during its Fall 1998 meeting.