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NCAR Advancing the NCAR Strategic Plan  

Metadata & Catalogs


  Data Portal
  Earth System Grid
  Media Catalog




Metadata plays a key role in the areas of discovery, use, analysis, managing, and sharing of scientific data. SCD is collaborating with THREDDS and ESG to define metadata standards and develop catalogs and applications which manage metadata.

Project Status

netCDF Markup Language (NcML)

NcML was created to provide an object model and schema for metadata development related to the widely used netCDF format. A beta version of the Ncx Java library has been released which provides routines for extracting XML-encoded metadata from netCDF files. more...


Metadata Query

This prototype application utilizes the NcML and the Ncx Java library to implement querying of netCDF metadata associated with the CCSM test dataset. It is supported by the XML native database Apache Xindice.


Metadata Extractor

This application extracts XML-encoded metadata from geophysical data files. It is currently limited to netCDF input files and output metadata conforming to the generic netCDF schema. more...


Catalog Browser

The Catalog Browser is a prototype web application for browsing of data catalogs. It accesses any THREDDS-compatible catalog and displays it using an XSLT transformation. The application includes a metadata viewer.



Currently under development, the Visualization Catalog will store detailed metadata about each NCAR scientific visualization. To expose the database to search engines, the data will be published in XML or RDF format by an automated script and database-generated HTML pages will be richly annotated with meta tags. A metadata specification draft has been completed as well as wireframe interface prototypes. more...


Prototypes & Development Sites

Future Direction

SCD in collaboration with the Earth System Grid project is planning on playing a key role in the development of domain-specific ontologies for the geosciences, leveraging the enormous amount of knowledge and expertise that is spread throughout the diverse groups and divisions at NCAR. Scientific ontologies will constitute the "lingua franca" of the semantic grid, enabling seamless queries and analysis of scientific data distributed across multiple sites, in different data formats, and conforming to different conventions or schemas.


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