Data and Information Management

Mission Statement

The primary objectives of the SBC IM system are to 1) preserve high-quality and well-documented data collections that are both secure and easily accessible, 2) serve the SBC and broader community with data products and tools, and 3) participate in relevant committees and activities at both the site and LTER Network level. The primary goals are achieved by the details described here:

● Assure preservation of high-quality data and metadata products through the cross-platform data curation and documentation and provides security through regular maintenance and backup procedures.

● Maintain and adhere to a Data Access Policy in compliance with LTER standards to assure that data and accompanying metadata are freely and publicly available electronically within two years of collection.

● Assure regular contributions of research data into the long-term data repository through strong integration of the IM Team with site science including 1) participation in the experiment designs and instrument deployment processes, 2) annual review of Information Management, and 3) regular interactions and trainings conducted with co-PIs and community members.

● Develop and maintain the SBC LTER web pages and associated user interfaces that provide access to data and metadata, research publications, themes, site and personnel information, education and outreach programs, and other site information.

● Provide support in the LTER information manager network community in the development of standards and best practices and participation in community projects and systems that promote the discovery, use, and integration of LTER data, both within the network and throughout the broader research community.

1. Who we are

SBC personnel involved in information management include Li Kui and Margaret O'Brien(SBC's information managers), and scientific staff in research groups: Jenny Dugan (science coordinator), Clint Nelson, Darrin Ambat, and David Salazar.

We also leverage or work closely with the following groups for system support, standards development, informatics, software development, and/or data processing:

- General Research IT office( and the UC Santa Barbara campus network infrastructure

- Moorea Coral Reef LTER (

- National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (

2. Data and metadata access

SBC LTER data were categorized into collections of five habitats, eight measurement types, and five core research areas. You can look into each of the collections and find the data package that you are interested in. If your target datasets are outside of our collection categories, please use the search function and provide the keywords for indexing. The metadata for each data package can be viewed in the Environmental Data Initiative (EDI) metadata tab.

3. IM System

The primary role of SBC's Information Management System is to oversee the storage and security of all SBC data, facilitate sharing among SBC participants, and design, produce, and catalog data products for the broader community. The Information Management System Manual documents all components of the system, including policies, infrastructure, resources, data quality control, and publication workflows.

3.1. File server

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.

General file server backup procedures are maintained and implemented through General Research IT office. In general, file servers are backed up daily, with incremental backup done every hour.

3.2. Data publication

SBC's system for data sharing and publication is compatible with the Network-adopted specification, Ecological Metadata Language (EML), and data are published in the Environmental Data Initiative repository (a repository funded by NSF and recommended for the LTER sites).

3.3. Data authorship agreement

The Data Authorship Agreement document outlines eight well-defined criteria for being a data package creator. This agreement is crucial, impacting the credibility, accountability, and usability of the data.

SBC LTER receives a free OxygenXML Editor license through their Support Life Program Oxygen XML Editor