Executive Summary for Information Management Processes


This guide provides an executive summary of the steps involved in documenting and submitting data developed by researchers at Coweeta (CWT) LTER.  The general policies, documentation, and forms related to the CWT LTER Data Management Plan can be found within the Information Management Guide.

  1. Before Research Begins- Prior to starting a research project, researchers should review the introduction to data management for CWT LTER and look at the page summarizing early steps for working with Coweeta.  Projects that are supported by CWT LTER must have a Project Proposal Form and Data Management Plan.  These plans will include descriptions of data collection methods, data analysis techniques that will be used, what data products that will be made available from the study, and when data will be submitted.
  2. Data Submission- Once data from a research project is due and is ready for submission to the CWT LTER Information Management Office, researchers should prepare the data in standardized units, and the proper tabular, image, or spatial data format. Then, complete the CWT Data Submission Form and submit the dataset, completed submission form, and any additional documentation to the CWT Information Management Office.
  3. Documenting Dataset in CWT Metabase- All new datasets are entered into the CWT Metabase based on the information contained in the CWT data Submission Form.  The Metabase is an SQL Server database originally developed by Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER, and documents all of CWT’s datasets and automatically creates Ecological Metadata Language (EML) based metadata for the datasets it contains.  The process of entering datasets into the Metabase is documented in the CWT Knowledgebase.
  4. EML Check- After the dataset is documented in the CWT Metabase, the EML metadata that has been generated is then checked by an error checking script in the CWT development website or through <oXygen/> XML Editor.  Any errors noted during the check are then corrected in the CWT Metabase until the EML metadata for the new dataset successfully passes the compliance check.  Typically, these errors are associated with the improper classification of variables and can be corrected by referring to the EML Unit Registry in the CWT Metabase, or by using our internal Metabase Unit Tool.
  5. Metadata Review- Once the metadata is in compliance with the EML format, it is then displayed in the CWT Data Catalog on the CWT Website.  The researcher that created the dataset is then contacted so that they can look over the metadata and check for any errors that may be present.  Any errors found are then corrected.
  6. Harvest into Metacat- Once in the data catalog, data are added to the EML Harvest List . The Harvest List is read by a web crawler at the LTER Network Office once a week. Any time a new data set is added or modified, a new EML entry will be harvested into the LTER Network Office’s implementation of Metacat. At this point, the data submission process is complete.