Frequently Asked Questions



Controlled Vocabularies

Metadata Questionnaire Setup

What does PIMMS stand for?

PIMMS stands for "Portable Infrastructure for the Metafor Metadata System"

What has been the motivation for PIMMS?

PIMMS packages the metadata system developed by the Metafor project so that it can be installed in universities. PIMMS tools enable users to document their models and simulations in a systematic, managed environment.. 

What is metadata?

Metadata is information that explains how to understand the data. Watch the Metafor Digiman cartoon to learn more about metadata.

Who should use PIMMS?

PIMMS metadata management system is primarily aimed at climate scientists because we have existing Controlled Vocabularies (a legacy from Metafor collaboration with CMIP5) that can be used to configure PIMMS tools to collect climate science information.  However PIMMS can be configured to collect information about any simulations.

Where do I start?

In order to generate a new metadata questionnaire instance, a user must first create some controlled vocabulary files and some numerical experiment documents that act as inputs to a questionnaire setup. Further instructions on generating these can be found via the "Documentation" tab above.

What is meant by an experiment, and how does it differ from a simulation?

In PIMMS the 'experiment' is all about why you are about to run the model and the 'simulation' is all about what you're going to do to the model.  Note that an experiment can have more than one simulation.

Here's an example of an experiment... "to test the response of my model to an increase in carbon dioxide"  

A corresponding simulation would explain how the carbon dioxide concentration of the model was manipulated.   

What is meant by a requirement?

In the context of a CIM Experiment document a requirement is an instruction for something that the experiment must do. An example of a requirement might be to increase ocean surface temperature everywhere by 2K. Experiments are explicitly described by their requirements.  We expect that the same requirement may be reused by a number of different experiments.  

How do I build a controlled vocabulary?

PIMMS uses a mind map tool called freemind to drive the web forms that collect metadata about models. PIMMS makes use of freemind text tyles, text colours, branch styles and symbols to encode information about how the content of a mind map is interpreted when generating these web forms. Here is an example "self-describing" mind map template. The complete self describing mind map can be found on the PIMMS trak site users can copy sections of the mindmap to use as a starting point for building their own controlled vocabularies.

Where do I get a copy of Freemind?

PIMMS is compatible with Freemind version 0.8.1 an "old" version. You can download it from the sourceforge site.

What do the different colours and symbols mean on a controlled vocabulary mindmap?

mind maps drive web forms

PIMMS uses mind maps to drive the web forms that collect information about models. The different text styles, text colours, symbols and branch styles on the mind maps enable them to be processed to generate these web forms. Change the content of the mind map and you change the web forms. The rules for creating mind maps were developed by Metafor for CMIP5. PIMMS has a mind map checker to ensure that a mind map complies with these rules before attempting to use it to generate web forms. In addition to the rules about the appearance of the mind maps PIMMS also requires that every "bubble" element on the mind map has a note associated with it containing a description.  The description text will appear as pop up text on the web froms and should take the form [definition] pop up text [/definition].

Mind map text rules
component Bold, not Purple (#990099)
parameter bundle Purple (#990099)
parameter bundle to be treated as a non-editable component Bold and Purple (#990099)
constraint Blue (#0033ff)
parameter Brown (#996600)
value fork node style

Where should I store my resultant controlled vocabulary xml file?

Copy and paste the xml into a text editor and name it "filename.xml". We recommend that you use the "view page source" option before copying the xml just in case your browser does quirky things with xml format.  When you come to create a metadata questionnaire you will upload the xml file generated from your mindmap in the "Upload Model CV" section.

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