Information Management: IM Guide

The Coweeta LTER Information Management Office exists to ensure the long-term integrity, security, and availability of data produced by Coweeta LTER PIs, Students, Staff, and Affiliates. We accomplish this mission by working closely with our colleagues to ensure that the products of their efforts are integrated into the Coweeta's Information Management System (CWT-IMS). The CWT-IMS is a comprehensive computerized information management framework designed to acquire, organize, document and maintain our research products.  The current system was designed in collaboration with the Georgia Coastal Ecosystem LTER and is heavily based upon the GCE Information System (GCE-IS). Like the GCE-IS, the CWT-IMS is designed to support data discovery and to provide a long-term research record that will last beyond the lifetime of the any single research project, or indeed, LTER program.

Coweeta's Information Management Sytem and procedures for submitting and using data with this system are presented in the IM Guide below. The IM Guide provides Investigators and Data Users with detailed information about information management and tools they need to conduct their research and use Coweeta resources in a way that is in keeping with the Coweeta LTER Data Policy. A good starting point for the IM Guide is the Executive Summary for Information Management Processes. These resources will be updated regularly as new components are added and in response to user requests for additional information. The menu above provides additional links that detail the data development and teleconferencing services that Coweeta IM provides in addition to its prescribed duties.

A. Before Research Begins Investigators who wish to use to Coweeta LTER resources other than existing data must contact us before submitting a proposal.
   1. Project Proposals Coweeta project proposals are the first official step in the research process and provide research context.
   2. Data Management Plans NSF requires data management plans for all Coweeta supported projects and together with project proposals, link data to research goals.
B. Data Submission Data submission is required after each field season. This section provides an overview of the data submission process.
   1. Data Format Guidelines Correct file formatting makes the data submission process proceed smoothly. 
      a. Format Guidelines for Tabular Data These guidelines ensure that data can be easily ingested into other systems for additional research.
      b. Format Guidelines for Spatial Data The Coweeta LTER uses a limited set of projections and coordinate systems. 
   2. Data Documentation Good documentation is crucial in assisting other users determine whether or not data might be useful to their own work.
      a. Data Submission Forms The templates provided here streamline the data documentation process.
      b. Metadata Field Reference
These tables provide details concerning metadata standard at both GCE and CWT.
   3. Site Standards and Definitions These lists provide recommended protocols, units, and variable names.
C. Data Access Information This section provides information from the Coweeta Data Policy about accessing CWT resources online.
   1. Data Use Agreement The agreement shown here is required whenever web users download Coweeta data.
D. Data Storage Protocols Description of data storage in the CWT IMS
   1. Technical Specifications Specifications for data stored in MATLAB structure variables, and descriptions of functions in the GCE Data Toolbox for MATLAB 5.x