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  Home > Long-Term Research Categories > Information Management > Information Management Summary

Andrews LTER Information Management Summary

27 February 2014

Information Management Philosophy and Objectives

The mission of Andrews LTER Information Management is to ensure that all LTER research data will be archived and openly available for the future. The primary goals are to 1) preserve high-quality and well-documented data collections that are both secure and accessible, 2) serve the Andrews and broader community through the development and management of informational products and tools, and 3) provide leadership and participation in relevant committees and activities at both the site and LTER Network level. The following objectives illustrate how aspects of the primary goals are achieved.

People and Institutions

Information Management is an essential component of the Andrews LTER program and benefits from an institutional partnership between the Oregon State University College of Forestry (COF) and the USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW). The current Andrews LTER Information Management Team reflects this long-term partnership:

Two other field technicians (1 PNW, 1 LTER/COF) serve IM roles in supporting data loggers and field computers used in routine data collection, describing collection methods, and providing data. A PNW administrative assistant tracks Andrews publications and maintains the LTER bibliography. NSF supplements are used on occasion to contract for specific application development.

Impacts of Information Management Activities

Perhaps the greatest impact is demonstrated through the persistence and growth of the Forest Science Data Bank. The FSDB was established in 1980 and has been largely funded and operated by LTER personnel since the mid-1990s. The FSDB has opportunistically acquired non-LTER data and includes well over 250 databases with more than 170 databases on-line (mostly LTER). A stable computing environment and information system with desirable features such as adherence to national metadata standards have allowed the FSDB to expand its LTER data resource holdings into a regional data center. Holdings now include key US Forest Service Research data (e.g., Research Natural Areas and Experimental Forests), USFS campaign data (e.g., Demonstration of Ecosystem Management Options (DEMO) and Mount St. Helens), National Forest System data (Young Stand Study), OSU CoF data (e.g., OSU MacDonald Forest), and the Long-Term Permanent Vegetation Plot Network (OSU, PNW, UW). NSF-funded grants in ecosystem informatics such as the IGERT and summer institute (EISI) programs have broadened campus-wide perspectives on information management and cyberinfrastructure issues, and Andrews data has been essential in student projects (e.g., quality control of high-volume streaming data, visualization software on species diversity). There have been over six thousand documented downloads of data from FSDB in the past three years.

The IM Team has recently been concentrating on improving our information management system to satisfy LTER Network expectations for placing metadata and data into the Netword data repository, PASTA, and advancing Network Information System (NIS) functionality. To do this and to prepare for our renewal proposal (LTER7), we have prioritized updates and review of all data sets, including reviewing and updating the website for necessary improvements. An on-going project has been the streamlining the processing of major data collections including several climate and vegetation study data sets by standardizing workflows and improving our capability to run quality control checks on streaming data in near real-time

Significant Results from our Efforts to Improve our Information Management System

Outreach and Training