Information Management Catalog Guidelines
Guidelines For The Information Management Catalog
Donald E. Strebel and Jeffrey B. Frithsen
The Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) is an interagency effort coordinated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and designed to collect information to assess the condition of the nation's ecological resources. The Information Management System for EMAP was developed to capture, preserve, and provide to users data and information collected and prepared by the program. The report describes the data catalog component of the EMAP Information Management System. Together with the data directory and dictionary, the catalog is one of three components that provides information about data (metadata) to users. The catalog contains the detailed, scientific documentation about data that enables assessment scientists and managers to understand the conditions, assumptions, and methods under which data were collected and compiled.
Presented in this report is a summary of the metadata components for the EMAP Information Management System, design requirements for the catalog, and a description of the catalog structure that was developed in response to those requirements. Requirements for the catalog were determined by EMAP assessment scientists and other users through multiple joint application design sessions and feedback provided through EMAP task group information managers. These requirements were refined based upon the overall vision for the EMAP Information Management provided by the Strategic Plan (Shepanek 1994) and review of existing standards and procedures for the completion of scientific documentation. In response to these requirements, the catalog was designed as an integral component of the EMAP relational data base. The structure of the catalog is, therefore, a set of fields organized in relational tables.
The drafting of scientific documentation is presented as a collaborative effort between scientific investigators and information management staff. Guidelines presented in this report for scientific investigators present writing a catalog entry as an analogous process to writing a scientific publication. Guidelines presented for information management staff focus on formats and the definition of specific fields. This report also contains examples of data documentation to be used by others for the compilation of additional catalog entries.