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Science Archives in the 21st Century


T5 - Archiving in hte Data Environment of Heliophysics at NASA

Aaron Roberts, NASA GSFC and HQ


This talk will present the NASA Heliophysics data policy that lays out a framework for the lifecycle of HP mission data; the viewpoint seems representative of the efforts of many communities, and demonstrates an approach to dealing with distributed archives linked by virtual observatories.


A modern data policy governing NASA's Heliophysics data environment is under development. We are evolving today's environment of existing services in order to take advantage new computer and internet technologies and at the same time respond to our evolving mission set and community research needs. A strong governing principle is that the HP data environment requires science participation in all levels of data management. We will extend the use of peer-review processes to assist in managing the elements of the environment. We will continue to insist that all data produced by the HP missions are open and are to be made available as soon as is practical. The environment will continue to be distributed and at the same time we are implementing data integration capabilities through the creation of discipline-based virtual observatories. In the case of the Virtual Solar Observatory, this architecture is already permitting the selective inclusion of essential data sets from non-NASA sources. Gurman's "Right Amount of Glue" sets the philosophy [J.B. Gurman: Fall 2002 AGU, SH52C-03] for the environment, a key component of which is a standard of behavior - share one's data with everyone. We are in the process of implementing Resident Archives and the processes to manage these archives which will hold and serve mission data after the active production of mission data terminates. NASA HQ is leading the implementation of this data policy which blends 'bottoms-up' implementation approaches with a 'top-down' vision for an integrated data environment.

By providing an end-to-end guide to the data lifecycle, the Data Policy should make archiving issues considerably easier. We are developing a general language for the description of our data (the "SPASE data model") that will provide much of what is needed for description of archival products. A "Mission Archive Plan" will be required of the missions to avoid, as much as possible, the common situation of having many loose ends at mission termination. The Resident Archives are intended to use the distributed nature of current archives to better serve data with continued expert support. The Data Policy emphasizes throughout the need for adequate documentation to assure the independent useablility that is required by users and thus by archives.

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