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In August's Scientist's Challenge, Leah Morgan from the Argon Geochronology Laboratory in Denver present their challenge of preparing for data release for a diverse group of geochemistry labs.

The Southwest Isotope Research Laboratory (SWIRL) is a group of labs that produce a variety of geochronological and geochemical data. 

The groups have different custom machines and custom software for analyzing and viewing their data types. The metadata that is necessary for data reuse is also diverse for the different types. 

Some work has been done in providing protocols and best practices for data reporting in the scientific literature. There is also work on applications for data management, e.g.,

However the tasks of data release, metadata creation, and metadata review are mostly new to this group.

How can they get started on determining the best way for them to embark on improved and efficient data management that will aid their Data Releases?


    1. How can the different isotope lab groups get started on learning about Data Release?
    2. What is the best way to stay informed about new tools and policies?
    3. How can we start to develop the best procedures for our specific data type(s)?
    4. Are there ways we can create a single web space for our Data Management activities?

There are many ways you can contribute to this challenge: suggest ideas or recommendations directly as a comment to this forum (you must be logged in), email Leah directly at, or email and the CDI coordinators will pass on the information.



  1. Good presentation Leah!

    Quick thoughts...

    SWIRL ScienceBase community with child items by Lab Groups? Within the lab groups then child data releases could be hosted?

    To ease the metadata process it seems like building data dictionaries for the data types produced for each lab group would be ideal?

    My opinion: If there is an accepted format by the user community that is still accessible to the greater community to meet open data/open access policies we should try to use and document that format.

    Wish list - interactive database by lab group that iteratively adds content through each 'data release' to keep it all in a single place rather than separate releases (DOI links).

    1. Hi Mikki,

      Great thoughts. Also, I am glad that you brought up "building data dictionaries." Many projects have been advised to, or know that it would benefit them, to create data dictionaries, but have No Idea where to start. Do you have any resources or examples you could point to? I will also try to find something because this is becoming a huge need.


      1. I think the building data dictionaries part is pretty straightforward. 

        Peter Schweitzer does have an example data dictonary embedded in his data dictionary - web services tools ( The data dictionary component here basically takes a data dictionary and formats to entity and attribute section.

        Additionally within the data management site there are examples (

        I'm unclear on once the dictionary is created where it's housed (ScienceBase option?) for reference within metadata? Public facing side of Science Center page? Or for an example like SWIRL - could be the data dictionary would be housed within the SB Community or lab group?

        1. From a ScienceBase perspective, we tend to recommend that people publish their data dictionaries either as a table within an initial data series report or as their own OFR. That way that resource will remain static and available through time. There are different ways that we can link to USGS publications from ScienceBase, so that the data dictionary can be easily accessed from a SB Community or data release landing page. 

          1. That's exactly what I was looking for! Thanks!!

  2. Hi Leah, 

    As Mikki mentioned, ScienceBase could be an option for hosting data releases (which you could organize in a community folder). For more information about the data release process in ScienceBase, please see our instructions page. At the top of this page, there are also a few links to websites with general information about data release policies, you might find those helpful too. If you’d like to explore options for using ScienceBase, please feel free to contact us at