Central Arizona Phoenix Metadata System

The Central Arizona Phoenix Metadata Management System Summary

The Central Arizona Phoenix (CAP) urban LTER site data management system follows the relational database models for the research data and site management data, while the metadata are stored as XML files in a native XML database (eXist). CAP recently transitioned from using Microsoft SQL Server and ACCESS to open source products such online PHP data entry screens, mySQL and newer technologies such as XForms (Orbeon) for editing metadata. The CAP manages data transactions on the web using Java code and the Tomcat server. The CAP pioneered many LTER Networks products, including Xanthoria, a management system that capitalized on the power of the Service Oriented Architectures, as well as XML technologies, and the EML schema for metadata. Currently, the CAP is investing heavily in the next generation of dynamic forms (Xforms) using the latest technologies.

LTER sites with similar management systems

  • some similarities : JRN, AND
  • potential synergies : MCM, PAL, CCE, MCR, SEV

The Central Arizona Phoenix Detailed

A custom relational database stores all research and site management data. Metadata are associated with the research databases and then reverse engineered into EML files by a Java program. Currently the workflow starts with designing the database and EML is generated after the database design as settled. The cap website provides data entry screens, some EML editing, and query systems for data discovery. Metadata are searched in the eXist native XML database, the EML files are formated for display via XSLT transformation. The predominant technology used in the website is Java and jsp for database searches, data download and general display. However, due to ease of use PHP is employed for quick generation of data entry applications for research and core monitoring data.

EML Status:

  • Completion: Nearly all metadata is available in EML.
  • Richness : Nearly all EML is rich, attribute level (level 5)
  • QA/QC : Some quirks on EML use of attributes created some trouble in the recent past. There are mechanisms to ensure the quality of the metadata and data, mostly manual entries in the back end database.