Data

Data management in the laboratory has recently been centralized. All new data collected by our research group are handled according to guidelines established by the Niwot Ridge (NWT) LTER.

All of our data are in the process of being transformed to files using the structure outlined on the NWT data management page. The structure of our files is almost identical to that found on the NWT page, and is as follows:

  • log – a history of the file, including persons responsible for, as well as dates of, creation and modifications
  • doc – documentation, i.e., descriptive information and qualifications, with the following subsections:
    • TITLE.
    • ABSTRACT.
    • INVESTIGATOR. – particulars of contact person, i.e., name, address, phone number, email address
    • VARIABLES. – list of key measured and/or derived variables
    • KEYWORDS.
    • LOCATION. – location of study, as well as storage locations for samples and/or original data
    • TIMING. – study initiation date, study termination date, frequency of measurements
    • CITATIONS. – references (in chronological order) that cite data, relate to methods, etc.
    • COMMENTS. – information on methodologies (field, laboratory, data management), exact plot locations, problems, qualifications, ancillary data, etc.
  • type – e.g., statistical (in columns and rows), graphic, image, etc.
  • header – information on the content of data columns, with a subsection for each COL#., where # is the column number, and elements within the subsection are:
    • label= i.e., the column header
    • type= “string”, “integer”, or “real”
    • units= units or “none”
    • missing value indicator=
    • minimum=
    • maximum=
    • precision=
  • data – the “data”

Caveats:

The information contained in the log section is a history of the file itself (not necessarily its contents), i.e., the data contained therein may be older than the file. Data contained in the data sections for the great majority of these files is comma-delimited and it is anticipated that all will be comma-delimited in the near future. It should be noted that, by convention, any characters enclosed in “curly” brackets ({}) within the data section are comments. It is expected that users of the data have familiarized themselves completely with the contents of the doc section, particularly the COMMENTS section.

Data Methods

Various experimental methods and protocols are referred to in the data files. Please follow this link to our Methods Page for further information.

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