Information Management


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Mission Statement

The primary objective of the SBC IM system is to facilitate diverse research and outreach goals by focusing on ease of access, data organization and integrity, and long-term preservation. The system is:
1. cross-platform and largely based on Internet standards rather than on vendor-specific technology,
2. integrated with laboratory science to keep participants up to date on changes and advancements, and
3. modular, allowing us to incorporate the skills of a broad community and integrate SBC activities with those of the LTER network and our other collaborators.

1. Who we are

SBC personnel involved in information mangement include Margaret O'Brien (SBC's information manager), and scientific staff in research groups: Jenny Dugan (science coordinator), Shannon Harrer (Reef group), Chris Gotschalk (Ocean group) and Matthew Meyerhof (Watershed group). We also leverage or work closely with the following groups for system support, standards development, informatics, software development, and/or data processing:
Marine Science Institute ( and the UC Santa Barbara campus network infrastructure
Moorea Coral Reef LTER (
Earth Research Institute (
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (

2. Data Use Agreement and Access

SBC has adopted and posted the LTER General Use Agreement and employs the "Type I-II" designations. SBC's and the LTER Network data policies are available in our data area:

3. IM System

A copy of SBC's Information Management plan and overview is available by request to:

3.1. File server

So that data are available to SBC members as quickly as possible, all of SBC's data and metadata are managed in a hierarchical directory system on a central data server. The directory structure is published internally and write-access is controlled. Backups are coordinated with PISCO, MSI and UCSB. File server help

3.2. Data publication

SBC’s system for data sharing and publication is based on the Network-adopted specification, Ecological Metadata Language (EML), and we have developed other compatible XML metadata models when necessary. ASCII tables are used for data exchange and archive as they have proven to be the most flexible and efficient for heterogeneous data.

As much as possible, we strive to integrate data publication with data processing. This approach allows data owners to control the format of the tables they publish, and takes advantage of scientific staff as the source for knowledge about sampling, methods and data processing.

Our tools for querying data take advantage of the granularity of EML, and are designed to be used by a wide variety of data tables rather than customized for individual data models. We feel that this is the best choice for accommodating a repository of highly varied scientific data, while minimizing demands on limited resources and preserving data for the long-term.