SUMMARY: CZO investigators benefit from describing their data using terms from a Controlled Vocabulary (CV) that is shared by the broader scientific community. The use of CVs enable better data sharing, discovery and integration. The CZOData team had developed a number of systems to help CZO investigators to select appropriate terms.
The use of a Controlled Vocabulary (CV) is a critical, early component of the data sharing, discovery and integration workflow that scientists need as they investigate complex processes from multiple CZOs over expanding spatial and temporal scales. Without the use of CVs, different investigators commonly use different terms to describe the same concepts and sometimes disagree about the meaning of terms. Such semantic heterogeneity across data sources can make discovery, integration, and synthesis of data difficult to impossible.
CZO investigators, CZO data managers and CZO data users can all realize the following benefits from the use of controlled vocabularies in describing datasets:
A number of controlled vocabulary systems have been developed to meet the needs of the critical zone science community, all with input from CZO investigators and data managers. These community shared vocabularies represent consensus of community members on the terms that should be used to describe data.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The CZOData project is in the process of defining a new archival/exchange file format called YAML Observations Data Archive and Exchange (YODA) that will replace the older CZO Display File format for hydrologic time series. The newer format will support both hydrologic time series and data derived from physical samples. When the new format and associated software tools are complete, we will encourage data managers to move to the new YODA format rather than using the CZO Display File format.