LTER to meet metadata standardization milestone this summer

The LTER network will reach an important milestone with regard to data documentation this summer: All LTER sites will be contributing metadata standardized in Ecological Metadata Language (EML) to the LTER Network Data Catalog. Standardization of data documentation is a critical step in the development of information systems to support ecological synthesis. Currently the LTER Data catalog hosts over 5,500 documents searchable at The latest contributors to the catalog are the newer LTER sites-Moorea Coral Reef (MCR) and the California Current Ecosystem (CCE).

Implementing the LTER data access policy

Access and use of LTER data outside the Network is governed by the LTER Data Access Policy. These policies and agreements were motivated by the need to measure the flow of data from the LTER Network to the community, thence documenting one of the broader impacts of the LTER program. The LTER Network Office's (LNO) NIS development team recently sent out a Request for Comments (RFC) about the Network-level implementation of this policy ( ). The RFC seeks to solicit input on a proposed implementation of this policy in NIS. The policy requires end user registration along with electronic acknowledgment and acceptance of data use agreements applied to the data set, and a statement of the intended use of the data set, before any data is released.

LTER Cyberinfrastructure Strategic Plan released for comments

The LTER Cyberinfrastructure Strategic Plan (CSP) developed under a supplement to the LTER Planning Grant has been released for comments from LTER members and the broader scientific community ( The document is a critical component of a suite of documents that will be provided to NSF as the result of the three-year planning process. This CSP will guide LTER and its cyberinfrastructure development partners in addressing proposed long-term, trans-disciplinary, multi-site science projects that result from the LTER planning process.

LTER Data Catalog Use Statistics

To understand better how the LTER Data Catalog is being used by the community, the NIS team performed a cursory analysis of the Metacat "access_log" table, which captures information about who is accessing what document(s) when. The "who" component is simply the logged-in user, while the "document" is identified by the document id (e.g., knb-lterlno. 23). Interestingly the biggest metadata fan is the National Biological Information Infrastructure's (NBII) automated harvesting process, followed by commercial search engine bots. From July 2005 through March 2007, for example, 339,487 document access events were logged by 14,157 unique users, of which 491 were logged in as registered users. Importantly, the overall access to metadata documents continues to increase. A full discussion can be found in the Spring 2007 issue of Databits.