Long-term data sets with data from many missions are needed to study trends and validate model results that are typical in Earth System Science research. Data and derived products originate from multiple missions (spaceborne, airborne and/or in situ) and from multiple organizations. During the missions as well as well past their termination, it is essential to preserve the data and products to support future studies. Key aspects of preservation are: preserving bits and ensuring data are uncorrupted, preserving understandability with appropriate documentation, and preserving reproducibility of science with appropriate documentation and other artifacts. Computer technology provides adequate standards to ensure that, with proper engineering, bits are preserved as hardware evolves. However, to ensure understandability and reproducibility, it is essential to plan ahead to preserve all the relevant data and information. There are currently no standards to identify the content that needs to be preserved, leading to non-uniformity in content and users not being sure of whether preserved content is comprehensive. Each project, program or agency can specify the items to be preserved as a part of its data management requirements. However, broader community consensus that cuts across organizational or national boundaries would be needed to ensure comprehensiveness, uniformity and long-term utility of archived data. The Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP), a diverse network of scientists, data stewards and technology developers, has a forum for ESIP members to collaborate on data preservation issues. During early 2011, members discussed the importance of developing a Provenance and Context Content Standard (PCCS) and developed an initial list of content items. This list is based on the outcome of a NASA and NOAA meeting held in 1998 under the auspices of the USGCRP, documentation requirements from NOAA and our experience with some of the NASA Earth science missions. The items are categorized into the following 8 high level categories: Preflight/Pre-Operations, Products (Data), Product Documentation, Mission Calibration, Product Software, Algorithm Input, Validation, Software Tools.
Documentation and Information Science
American Geophysical Union meeting; 5-9 Dec. 2011; San Francisco, CA; United States