Data Managers Workshop

Network News Fall 1988, Vol. 4 No. 1

The LTER data managers (one from each LTER site) held a workshop prior to the AIBS/ESA meetings in Davis, California, August 14-18, 1988. The workshop was organized by Bill Michener (North Inlet) and Susan Stafford (Andrews). Several aspects of research data management were discussed during the workshop and the following recommendations were made to the LTER Coordinating Committee (in the workshop final report).

  1. Communication among sites of data, manuscripts, correspondence, etc. via Bitnet (electronic mall) is strongly encouraged
  2. An electronic Bulletin Board Committee was established to examine the feasibility of establishing a listserver for Bitnet at Kellogg Biological Station and tying the LTER into a commercial or scientific bulletin board
  3. Preparation of a site bibliography (list of all publications, keywords index, and author index). Those sites who have such a document have found it to be of great use to visiting scientists, incoming graduate students, as well as onsite faculty and staff
  4. Site licenses and/or multiple copies of software were strongly encouraged at all sites. Sharing a single copy among several cpus is generally in violation of the copyright laws and can have serious consequences such as loss of site licenses and heavy penalties. Funding agencies need to be made aware that grants need to be funded at levels which provide for multiple copies of software for a specified number of cpus.
  5. Proposed development of an LTER Data Set Directory (containing descriptions of all the LTER core datasets). The directory would be particularly valuable to scientists who wish to tie a short term study into an extensive long- term data set. Important parameters to be included in the directory were agreed upon.
  6. Unanimous agreement that long-term archival facilities were inadequate at each site. Data managers recommend that one WORM (write once, read many) device be purchased for each LTER site. Individual unit specifications were discussed.
  7. A job description for LTER coordinating Data Manager was written.

In addition to the workshop, a contributed papers session, “Innovative Statistical and Graphical Techniques for Ecological Data”, was held in conjunction with the ESA meeting. Several papers were presented during the workshop by members of the group. Four of those presentations were:

  1. “Role of Data Managers at an LTER site”, John Briggs, Konza
  2. “Hardware/Software”, Bill Michener
  3. “Data Set Documentation”, Susan Stafford
  4. “Management of Historical Data Sets/Database Administration”, Barbara Benson, Northern Lakes