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Science Archives in the 21st Century


Today science data archives face increasing challenges to meet the needs of their users. They have also become highly distributed. NSSDC will sponsor a workshop to improve communication among the practitioners supporting science data centers, archives, and repositories. A first workshop, scheduled for 25-26 April 2007, will be held at the University of Maryland University College, Inn and Conference Center, with a specific focus on facilitating communication and eliciting best practices and outstanding challenges from practicing science data managers, with an emphasis on good stewardship of NASA's Heliophysics, Planetary, Astrophysics, and Earth science data as well as perspectives from other science archives in the US and internationally.


One goal will be to establish the level of commonality of problems and best practices, as seen by the practitioners, and their interest in continuing to communicate on such matters. Another goal will be to identify broadly based techniques and best practices that address common concerns, and to get these identified and recorded in a summary document. A third goal will be to establish more frequent, alternative, modes of communication among the practitioners should this be of interest. This may include the establishment of ad hoc working groups to address particular issues and/or the development of best practices documents.


Total participation is limited to 35 practitioners. Abstracts are required to help set the sessions and to provide a basis for selection of the practitioners should we receive more than 35 submissions. We expect to select about 15 of those submissions for oral presentation with the rest scheduled as posters. Of those 15, a few will be invited speakers. There will be 2 minutes, prior to lunch the first day, given to each poster presenter to encourage poster viewing. Getting perspectives from all 35 submissions into the discussions will facilitate accomplishing our goals. A draft agenda is available from the web site and will be updated as invited speakers and sessions are identified. Abstracts and presentations will be posted on the web site, as will the summary document.

We've specifically kept the total participation down to promote effective discussion. Should we be unable to accommodate all interested practitioners, or if we have missed key participation, we would anticipate holding future workshops. The response to this call will significantly influence future plans.


Abstracts are due by 16 March 2007. Submission should be one page, in ASCII, with a title, a one sentence topic, 3/4 page abstract, a short bio (about 3 sentences), and contact name, affiliation, e-mail address, phone number, and postal mail address. The bios will be made available on-site to help with introductions. Actual sessions/topics will depend on the abstracts received; however some suggested topics are as follows:

  1. Archival policies and their implementation, in a distributed environment
  2. Role and implementation of persistent identifiers
  3. Long-term preservation of understanding of scientific data
  4. Archival support of multiple virtual observatory systems
  5. Emerging archival standards and technologies
  6. Meeting user needs: metadata, ontologies, natural language and archive exploration

To facilitate communication among the diverse set of participants, abstracts should incorporate terminology and concepts from our Framework for Communication document. This provides a conceptual model of an archive/repository/data center that has been proven to be an effective communication approach.

Abstracts submissions are to be sent via e-mail, with the subject "SciArch:Abstract", to by COB 16 March 2007. Submitters will be notified via e-mail of receipt of the abstract by COB 19 March 2007, and will be notified of acceptance for presentation or poster by COB 30 March 2007.

Presentations and Posters:

Presentations are expected to be 20 minutes, including time for 2 or 3 questions. They should incorporate terminology and concepts, as appropriate, from the Framework for Communication document. At the end of each session, an additional 30 minutes are planned for questions and discussion on the session topic. Posters, also incorporating the Framework for Communication terms and concepts as appropriate, should be sized to fit on a standard 2ft. x 3ft. easel.

Key Dates:

Abstracts Due: 16 March 2007
Acceptance Notices:30 March 2007
Workshop Dates: 25 and 26 April 2007


The workshop will be held at the University of Maryland University College, Inn and Conference Center. Information on travel and hotels is available.

More Workshop Links

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