datapreservation.usgs.gov
National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program

Cataloging, Metadata, Standards, and Data Delivery

Decisions about inventory methods for samples and about criteria for metadata have the potential to profoundly affect the value that is added to and retained by physical earth science samples and the data derived from them.  The term “metadata” has various uses and meanings, even within restricted disciplines.  With respect to physical samples and the data derived from them, the term commonly means information that bears of the physical nature, condition, location and circumstances of acquisition of a physical sample; and on the type and reliability of the analytical data or other measured information that drive from a sample or from suites of samples.  

Global Registry of Scientific Collections

The Global Registry of Scientific Collections (GRSciColl) is a comprehensive clearinghouse of information about object-based scientific collections. It provides general terminology to describe scientific collections that span all scientific disciplines, including earth and space sciences, anthropology, archaeology, biology, biomedicine, and applied fields, such as agriculture, veterinary medicine, and technology. GRSciColl is a community-curated data source that originated from Scientific Collections International (SciColl), an international association of affiliated organizations that promotes the availability, management, and usefulness of object-based scientific collections across science, technology, and medical disciplines. SciColl works actively on demonstrating the impact scientific collections have on research projects that have a global impact, highlighting examples of the benefits and value of scientific collections, creating a collections and management resource locator (GRSciColl) for researchers and policy makers, and developing and providing standards and guides for managing scientific collections.

The USGS National Digital Catalog

The National Digital Catalog serves as a metadata repository for geoscientific physical samples inventoried and archived by State Geological Surveys and the USGS. Over 2.7 million metadata records have been uploaded to and made publicly available in the National Digital Catalog (NDC). Currently, NGGDPP staff are in the process of updating the NDC dashboard that will allow for easier entry of collections metadata.  The NDC resides on the ScienceBase data management infrastructure, being developed by the USGS for use by USGS and partner scientific efforts. ScienceBase offers many advanced features, including automated generation of web services, security settings, public access and use, flexible metadata formats (from standards-compliant formats to various schemas, including NGGDPP), data/metadata ingestion methods, spatial geometry assignment and services, directory services promoting discovery of scientists and organizations, vocabulary services, and more.

How can you contribute?

If you have any success stories, suggestions, or contributions you would like to share, please send an email to the USGS National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program at nggdpp@usgs.gov.  We will work with you to highlight your best practices and share them online.