Progress on federating metadata search for the polar regions
Polar-relevant metadata is stored in catalogues across the globe and includes a wide variety of data types, such as measurements taken from instrumentation, maps and atlases, photographs, and recordings of oral histories. For many data types, there is no realistic prospect of standardising and aggregating the data itself; therefore, federated metadata search is the only viable way to make these datasets easily discoverable, and so maximise their value. POLDER is a working group of the Southern Ocean Observing System, Standing Committee on Antarctic Data Management, and the Arctic Data Committee, and it is extending some of the existent guidance and tools needed to make federated metadata search possible for the polar research community. A key element of the POLDER effort is generating a best practice guide to implementing schema.org, as a potentially lightweight discovery metadata standard that will sit alongside data centres’ existing metadata standards. We hope that schema.org metadata will thus help navigate between the multitude of existing, richer metadata standards that are commonly used in data centres, and allow discovery of the long tail of data that's currently hard to find. Once the best practices guide is completed, POLDER intends to implement a small pilot federated search project through the implementation of the POLDER Schema.org mark-up recommendations, building on and contributing to the tool development in allied communities. This federated search is intended to serve the polar research community by creating a single user interface for researchers, community members and data managers to search across numerous polar repositories in a single query. In this presentation, we will describe the process to date on creating a template for schema.org metadata and a best practice guide to accompany that template, as well as the lessons learned so far in the process of developing the tools to support federated metadata search.