New data catalogue now available

Posted on September 30, 2014 (Last modified on October 19, 2023) • 5 min read • 913 words
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CEDA’s new data catalogue service was made public earlier today, delivering an improved and more sustainable interface for users to search, discover and access the content held in the BADC, NEODC and UKSSDC data archives. 

Our new catalogue has been built on international standards after a number of years of development, and with care to preserve, develop and enhance the content and functionality that users will be accustomed to from our previous catalogue.

The new catalogue has been designed to help users:

  • provide finer detail about archive content from the previous catalogue
  • find relevant datasets by carrying out simple text searches
  • find related datasets, e.g. by being linked by common instruments, projects or facilities records
  • link to supporting background information, such as details on instruments, flight paths, programmes, data authors
  • links to apply for access to restricted data, download from the archive or to access tools to carry out tasks such as sub-setting data
  • links supporting ongoing projects such as connections to group work spaces and information about depositing data with our data centres

Exploring the new catalogue

Although the catalogue has been designed to be more intuitive to user than the previous catalogue, CEDA have put together a short introduction on using the new catalogue. This describes the main features of the catalogue and new users are encouraged to read this before starting to explore the catalogue.

The new catalogue is designed around the following key linked features: Datasets, Dataset Collections, Projects, Instruments, Platforms and Computations.

Dataset records provide detailed information about specific datasets held in the CEDA archives - for example, data from a particular instrument on a field campaign; while Dataset Collections bring together series of these datasets, linked by some common theme - e.g. a field campaign, a particular instrument or facility.

Project records provide background information about why the dataset was produced and may also have links to supporting services for ongoing projects that CEDA is actively supporting  - such as group workspaces or information about depositing data for the project participants.

Instruments, Platforms and Computation records give relevant information about how and sometimes wheredata were produced. For example, these can tell you about an institution’s chemistry information mounted on a research aircraft, or a particular NWP model run on a supercomputer. 

Users can then navigate from one record type to another to find either related data and/or related background information.

Begin exploring our new catalogue here


Further help

If you require further assistance or would like to make any comment about the new interface, please contact the CEDA helpdesk and we will be happy to assist where possible.

How the old and new catalogues compare

Most of the new catalogue’s main features are synonymous with our previous catalogue, but have been made ISO standards compliant by adjusting and standardising the content of the different record types in the catalogue. In some cases there wasn’t a direct mapping and so the information has been split where needed.

The table below shows how the items in the old catalogue have been mapped to the new service:

Old catalogue New catalogue
Data Entity maps to  Dataset Collection
Deployment maps to  Dataset
Activity maps to  Project
Data Production Tool for observational tools maps to   Instrument
for models maps to Computation
Observation Stations for observational stations maps to  Platforms
for computer hardware maps to Computation

With the switch to the new catalogue service CEDA are taking careful steps to maintain the traceability of our data and how people may have previously cited data in our archive in publications. To do this CEDA has:

  1. added the URLs for the old catalogue entries onto the relevant catalogue entry in the new service - under “previous record identifiers”
  2. mapped content from the citations given in the old records over to the new service to ensure that the citations are nearly identical, with the only real change being the URL used in the citation string now points to the new service
  3. undertaken to provide URL redirects from the old catalogue to the relevant record in the new catalogue service when the old service is turned off
  4. undertaken to ensure that all DOIs will correctly map to the relevant entry in the new service - very little content has changes on the relevant records, thus maintaining the required elements for these citations.

Future developments

At present the new catalogue is largely a like for like replacement of the present catalogue and you can still explore the old catalogue here. 

The old catalogue will be switched off around the start of November this year to allow people to transition from the old catalogue to the new service. However, we are planning on continuing to improve the new service by:

  • reviewing the catalogue content and enhancing the dataset information
  • improving the connections to the archive to allow greater discovery of more relevant data quickly and easily
  • enhancing the search facility to allow searches, for example by temporal and geographical extent

More information about the CEDA catalogue

As mentioned above, the new service has been designed to comply with international standards which allows more greater portability of the catalogue information to external services - such as the NERC Data Catalogue Service. The standard CEDA has followed is a GEMINI 2 and INSPIRE compliant standard with an environmental focus, built around version 3.4 of the MOLES (Metadata Objects Linking Environmental Sciences) model, developed by CEDA. For further details please refer to the MOLES3.4 documentation here.

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