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Data Management and Access

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The Information Management (IM) system seeks to provide broad data services, including curation of high quality, environmental and research data and metadata. This is accomplished through the development of a community-based environment for efficient sharing of data services and resources. The multi-institutional partnership will be based on a commitment to long-term environmental and social research and monitoring. Key partners include the Institute for Natural Resources (OUS), Portland State University, Oregon State University, METRO and the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW), with eventual expansion to Washington State University Vancouver, Clark County, WA, and the cities of Portland and Vancouver. We propose to evaluate existing partner cyberinfrastructure including personnel and expertise, databases and metadata, hardware, web tools and software, field-based wireless or sensor networks, and collaborative tools; and plan to build networking capacity among the partner institutions. The interaction of scientists and IM Team members in all aspects of study planning and project implementation will be critical. The goal is to create a rich, interdisciplinary research information infrastructure to allow access and sharing of diverse information products for Portland-Vancouver ULTRA focus areas such as information–decision-making feedbacks, urban hydrology, green infrastructure, and land use planning implications on livability and ecosystem services.

ULTRA Information Management System

The Portland-Vancouver ULTRA will create and maintain a repository of quality data sets that is broadly inclusive of both long-term and short-term ULTRA and related study data, such as existing collections from the Portland and Vancouver metropolitan area and comprehensive spatial data. A key challenge will be the integration of current data holdings of Metro’s Data Resource Center with extensive spatial and social information for the entire metro area, OSU’s Natural Resources Digital Library, the Heritage Information Center with Portland-area species and habitat data, and PSU’s aquatic species information. The plan is to model the long-term data repository after the Forest Science Data Bank (Stafford et al. 1984, Henshaw et al. 2002) of the H.J. Andrews LTER, which relies on a metadata-driven information system to manage a diverse array of information products including research data, a bibliography of relevant publications, locally developed models and software, an image library, and a document archive. Structured metadata will be the primary building block to data discovery, access, and integration, and will ensure interoperability with other ULTRA and LTER networks. Adoption of the Ecological Metadata Language (EML) will assure compliance with LTER Metacat and NBII Clearinghouse metadata standards. Other accepted LTER standards and best practices for IM will be explored.

Data Access Policy

Data access policy is compliant with LTER-ULTRA Network policy and includes a data release policy and data use agreement to assure appropriate use and citation of data. The goals of the IM system are to make most research data publicly available online within two years after collection. While some data may only be released to restricted audiences, these exceptions will be rare and justified. Examples for restricting data might include endangered species locations, copyright or privacy issues. Data set citations will be provided to assure the proprietary rights of the data providers.

Computing Environment and Distribution Methodology

The ULTRA proposes that the integrated information management system be created at PSU when INR’s Information Program is transferred from OSU in January of 2010, and will evaluate the potential to share network servers (e.g., production, web, development, database, backup). System services and database administration will be provided through agreements with PSU. Databases will be developed cooperatively with Metro DRC management staff serving as the IM lead for the project. Software is proposed to be open source whenever possible, but includes ESRI and Microsoft products currently in use by the primary partners. An ULTRA website will distribute all data to ensure that data are both sharable and interoperable with other project databases and the LTER-ULTRA network. Existing web sites and tools including imagery and spatial data portals of the Oregon Explorer and Metro’s REIN site will be incorporated.

Network Activities

Among the proposed projects for the Portland-Vancouver ULTRA is the development of a multi-ULTRA workshop to synthesize common research threads among new ULTRA sites. The adoption of LTER-ULTRA methodology and standards will allow participation in network-level products and databases, such as the reference bibliography and metadata libraries.