The NIS PASTA framework is nearing its first production release in December 2012, and LTER sites have made great progress over the past several years in getting EML-described core data online. LTER site Information Managers and others in the eco-informatics community have also made progress in developing or adapting software to perform analytical workflows using EML-described data. In many ways this is a watershed moment in LTER, when we are poised to capitalize on these long-term investments and realize the vision of computer-mediated data synthesis based on structured metadata.
We therefore propose to convene a workshop to develop and test workflows that leverage the PASTA framework, EML-described data and EML-based software to generate derived data products for one or more network synthesis projects (e.g. ClimDB, Veg-DB and Cross-Site Coastal Water Quality). This workshop will not only provide documented workflows that can be used by these synthesis efforts, but will also provide crucial feedback to workflow software developers, EML providers and NIS developers on any problems encountered to improve these resources. This workshop will also provide practical, real-world experience that will inform views on best practices for EML metadata content, EML-data congruency and site data package management, helping to guide site practices as we move from the era of human-readable to machine-readable metadata and data in LTER.