Additional Participants

Graduate Student

Stephanie Watson
Seung-Ki Woo
Christine Harvey

Project Period

October 1, 2001-December 31 2002

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number


Submission Date



This incubation proposal addresses the issue of integrating large, diverse, and autonomous collections of scientific data within a complex institutional setting. The goal is to convert these autonomous collections into a shareable repository that supports synthesis of data through new metadata structures based on events and processes. The institutional setting is the data and data-gathering activities of over 80 agencies, NGOS, and academic and research institutions operating within the Gulf of Maine watershed. The metadata development will be coordinated by library and spatial information scientists working jointly with domain scientists. An essential task of this incubation effort will be the development of a shared understanding of environmental processes and events that becomes a shareable ontology.

Libraries play a vital role in organizing intellectual access to creative works. Scientific data has tended to be outside this traditional purview and has thus lacked the benefits of cataloging and indexing that promote shared access. We are proposing a new metadata structure that exploits common units of analysis in environmental studies: events and processes. Associating scientific data sets with event and process tags, in addition to other metadata elements, can substantially improve the ability to integrate and synthesize diverse scientific collections. The metadata initiative of this proposal will lay the foundation for specifying events and processes through the collaboration of data collections content specialists and information management specialists.