Building an Information Management System for Global Data Sharing: A Strategy for the International Long Term Ecological Research (ILTER) Network
Last modified: 2008-08-21
The International Long Term Ecological Research (ILTER) Network is a global network of sites arrayed in many ecosystems and countries that aims to address international ecological and socio-economic problems through collaborative research. To facilitate ILTER data discovery, access, and synthesis, a strategy for adopting common information management standards throughout the ILTER has been developed. The proposed strategy suggests the use of Ecological Metadata Language (EML) as a proximate goal for ILTER metadata standardization and ultimately the adoption of ontologies (semantic metadata) to facilitate the integration of ILTER data once standards are agreed upon and tools are developed. This paper presents examples of the information management systems currently in use in the ILTER that are EML-based, ontology-based, or based on a country-specific standard. The advantages of ontology-driven information management systems are discussed, as is the approach ILTER will take to realizing such a system. Also discussed are mechanisms for creating a network-wide information management system that accommodates the different languages used throughout the ILTER.