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This is a couple of things. First, NOAA and a small community built a command line-invoked crawler that a user/client can use to harvest metadata from THREDDS servers into ISO-compliant formatting (standard number: 19115). This tool is usually just refered to as "ncISO." In addition, the thinking behind this tool has also been packaged into an extension to THREDDS, called "threadsISO." Note that discussions are underway to make this functionality a default part of THREDDS, although this is still under development.

Purpose: To convert THREDDS, netCDF, or NCML-based metadata content into ISO-compliant forms. The benefit of this is that many other types of software, notably web-based catalogs (which provide OGC Catalog Services for the Web (CSW)), can then facilitate discovery and access to actual data content in these stores.
ncISO Home Page (includes threadsISO)

  • A new version (6/3/11) of the ncISO crawler is available. Like the new extension for THREDDS, it has some significant improvements including:
    • THREDDS Metadata integration
    • Time_coverage_resolution now reported as ISO duration format.
    • Use of ncml groups to show source for ncml attributes
    • Documentation additional THREDDS service types e.g. WMS, WCS
  • An interesting feature of these tools is that they can be used to produce a "rubric," which is essentially a scoresheet indicating how well a given dataset specifies various kinds of metadata. Not only is this valuable for helping potential users evaluate data character, it is a pretty clear diagnostic that data producers can use to motivate themselves to develop better metadata. Even if you have great data, if no one can tell what it is it's not going to have nearly the same impact!