Stewardship of Legacy Field Campaign Data at NCAR's Earth Observing Laboratory
EOL has very unique project archives, many of which are not available elsewhere. Much of the earlier project archives are in poor condition (e.g. lacking documentation, undigitized data, unsupported formats, etc.) such that a considerable amount of the data and documentation is unusable or currently unavailable in their present form. In the past three years, EOL has also been working closely with other groups within NCAR such as the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL) Research Data Archive (RDA), the Library/Archives, and the Digital Image Library to begin to organize and link our archives in a consistent manner adhering to agreed upon best data management practices. This legacy effort was driven particularly in response to the fact that legacy project PIs were retiring, passing away, or the danger that such older archives might disappear forever.
Statements on data legacy and stewardship from both the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the American Geophysical Union (AGU) have strongly endorsed such legacy archive efforts. In February 2013, a letter from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy also emphasized the need for free and open data and required institutions to make archive data available. In recognition of the value of archived field project information and data, EOL, with the support of NSF, has initiated a process to migrate older “dark” field project data sets into a modern data access system, translating data to more conventional formats and (where possible) linking supporting information such as project reports and publication references to those data. This renewed process of legacy project data stewardship has been initially focused on projects of particular historic importance, and on data that were collected specifically with EOL platforms. In addition, EOL is performing a Laboratory-wide data audit and review of our data holdings. A review of this work will be presented.