All metadata can be searched using the web interface at http://www.ltern.org.au/knb/. Data files with unrestricted 'read' settings can be downloaded directly from the web interface.
The repository stores copies of the data as instructed by the individual researchers. Researchers also have the ability to restrict access to authorised users.
Preparing the data
Data for some instruments or experiments follow pre-defined international standards while others do not. However, the repository is a general-purpose catalogue and storage space for environmental data. It, therefore, does not require (or enforce) particular data standards.
It is left to the discretion of the researcher to be aware of existing standards and determine and ensure that their data is compliant with the relevant standards before the data are uploaded to the repository.
Any standards used to prepare and format the data will be fully described in the package's metadata record. The researcher is encouraged to inspect the available data packages in the repository as a guide on how to prepare data and add a metadata record.
Preparing a data package
A single data package usually has several dimensions: spatial coverage, temporal coverage, experimental and site parameters and so on. Some of these dimensions are 'one-off' data tables, whereas others are data tables that are constantly being updated.
The data package allows the researcher to attach one more data files. It is recommended that the data are broken down into separate tables according to the relevant dimensions. For example, data collected on a daily basis might be stored in daily, weekly, monthly or yearly files. Data that covers multiple sites might be stored in site-specific files and so on.
Each data file ought to have sufficient metadata to be fully described without reference to any other data files in the package. So, for example, metadata describing columns in the 2009 data file ought not to make reference to the 2008 data file etc.
It is recommended that each data file contains a single data table (ideally in CSV format). For Excel spreadsheets, this can be done by simply saving the sheet as Comma Separated Values (.CSV).
Using text files allows the data to be machine-readable. Morpho, the data entry software, is able to automatically extract table headings and values from text files. It will also assist in defining measurement units and adding descriptions (metadata) to the dataset. Nevertheless, the software can also handle non-tabular and non-textual data such as Word documents and multimedia files.
Uploading the raw data (i.e. the high frequency values obtained directly from the field instruments) is optional. Note, though, that the raw data can be very handy for researchers who want to replicate the experiment or re-process the data using other methods. When the raw data is not available, the research ought to describe how interested parties could obtain it (usually by directly contacting the data custodian.)
When uploaded data are the result of a particular algorithmic process (either computer-assisted or manual), the researcher is encouraged to also include the relevant algorithm in the metadata record or in a separate file. The aim is to provide others enough information to understand how the data was obtained.
Selecting a licence
Researchers are able to indicate a specific licence to their data package.
The TERN data licensing policy principles should be applied to licence selection.
Researchers submitting data must have the appropriate rights to submit data (ownership or permission from the owner).