binary data overrunning a globe

Credit: PIxabay CC-0

Purpose

The Long-Term Ecological Research Network includes research sites inside and outside the U.S. representing a wide variety of ecosystems and research emphases. At each site an information manager or information management team is concerned with technologies that improve collaborations between researchers and technological solutions to enabling data collection, discovery, access, integration and analysis across disciplinary and scale boundaries.

The Information Managers Committee is a network-wide standing committee, and includes at least one information manager from each LTER site.

Meeting Frequency

  • The Executive Committee of the IMC meets monthly via video conference to plan events and coordinate cross-site activity.
  • The IMC meets annually, including every three years at the LTER All Scientists’ Meetings and typically in conjunction with a related meeting (e.g., Earth Science Information Partners or Ecological Society of America) in non-ASM years.
  • In addition to the annual in-person meeting, the IMC meets monthly via video
    conference to discuss key network topics. Information Managers from all LTER
    sites are invited and encouraged to participate in these meetings.

Activities of many current and past information management working groups are documented on the LTER organization on GitHub, which replaces the information management committee website for current committee activities.

In addition, LTER information managers contribute frequently to information management resources and best practices posted at the Environmental Data Initiative. LTER-specific policies and resources can be found in the information management document archive of the LTER Network website.

Currently Active Subcommittees (as of May, 2019)

  • IMC Website Improvement & REDesign (WIRED). The working group is considering alternatives to the Drupal platform upon which the current site is based.  Migrating to a new platform would also be an opportunity to better organize the site.
  • EDI EML Congruency Checker (ECC). This working group will consider several
    proposed data-quality checks for inclusion in PASTA+.
  • EDI Semantics. This working group explores how EDI may improve data discoverability by adopting appropriate vocabularies, ontologies or other registries of resources which have permanent identifiers. Projects the working group may pursue include: 1) collaborations with developers of semantic resources such as EnvThes and the ENVO Ontology, 2) aligning vocabularies already in use (e.g, the LTER Controlled Vocabulary) with other resources, 3) structured descriptions of measurements, including units and dimensions, 4) best practice recommendations for dataset annotation, and  5) organizing workshops and hackathons for applying semantic tools.
  • ClimDB/HydroDB. This working group seeks to migrate the existing ClimDB/HydroDB databases from their aging infrastructure to an appropriate archive, and to develop a path forward for ongoing additions to these valuable resources.
  • Core Metabase. This working group is developing a database design and related tools for storing metadata about ecological datasets.  A key function of LTER-core-metabase is to support generation of Ecological Metadata Language (EML) documents. The MetaEgress R package, also developed by this group, is designed to export EML from LTER-core-metabase.
  • Non-Tabular Data. This working group is developing best practices for archiving non-tabular data such as drone imagery, video, genomics data, and simulation model output.
  • Information Management Knowledge Exchange. This working group, formerly known as IM Orientation, facilitates knowledge exchange amongst information managers regarding workflows, tools, and best practices for accomplishing IM tasks.

Subcommittees (2018):

  • IMC Website Improvement & REDesign (WIRED). This WG is tasked with
    updating the IMC website (http://im.lternet.edu).
  • EDI EML Congruency Checker (ECC). This EDI-led WG is tasked with
    implementing new or revised data-quality checks for the PASTA+ platform used
    by the LTER and other groups to submit data to the EDI data repository. During
    this year, the WG developed and implemented several new checks related to the
    size and identification of submitted files that will improve the accuracy and
    consistency of LTER data submitted to the EDI data repository.
  • Drupal Ecological Information Management System (DEIMS). This WG consists of seven LTER sites that employ the Drupal-based DEIMS tool as the foundation for their information management system. This group is considering
    enhancements to the current version, and developments required to
    accommodate compliance with the newest version of Drupal (version 8).
  • EDI Semantics. This EDI-led WG was established to address how EDI may
    improve data discoverability by adopting appropriate vocabularies, ontologies, or other registries of resources that have permanent identifiers. Projects the working group may pursue include (1) collaborations with developers of semantic resources such as EnvThes and the ENVO Ontology, (2) aligning vocabularies already in use (e.g, the LTER Controlled Vocabulary) with other resources, (3) structured descriptions of measurements, including units and dimensions, (4) best practice recommendations for dataset annotation, and (5) organizing workshops and hack-a-thons for applying semantic tools.
  • ClimDB/HydroDB. This WG is tasked with identifying long-term solutions for
    standardizing and archiving climate and hydrologic data from LTER, and other
    research sites and organizations.
  • IM Orientation. This WG developed from tea-with-the-Chair sessions in which the IM-Exec Chair fielded questions, particularly from new information managers, regarding LTER information management tools, approaches, and best practices.
  • Core Metabase. This WG is tasked with continuing development of the
    LTER-core-metabase, a database schema and accompanying tools that can be
    implemented as the backbone (or enhancement to) the Information Management System (IMS) of LTER sites, or other groups or investigators.
  • GIS. This WG is tasked with improving the curation and use of geospatial data.
  • Zotero. This WG seeks to develop best practices for using Zotero as a reference manager for LTER sites to facilitate (1) sharing key products with the LTER Network bibliography, (2) submitting product citations to Research.gov for NSF reporting, and (3) enabling a searchable bibliography for an LTER site’s website.

Active Subcommittees (2016-2017):

  • IM Exec
  • Information Management guidelines
  • Website guidelines
  • Training
  • The NISAC committee (combining IM and science) is relatively inactive at present.
  • Annual in-person meetings, monthly online meetings, a mail list, working groups, primarily working online.

In 2015-2016 the IMC contributed significantly to the envisioning and proposal for what became the Environmental Data Initiative.