September 2011 NIS Update

Transitioning from August to September and into Autumn was a productive period as the developers of the Network Information System (NIS) prepared for the annual LTER Information Managers meeting and the Environmental Information Management conference held in Santa Barbara, California. 

 * The 2011 LTER Information Managers meeting in Santa Barbara focused on a number NIS related topics, including the use of workflows, review of the EML Congruency Checker, and the integration of the LTER Controlled Vocabulary into the current LTER Data Portal.  The information managers were introduced to the PASTA workflow model and the Event Manager service and support the idea of having workflows independent of PASTA, but triggered by the Event Manager service.  The information managers were treated to an advanced view of report results from  the EML Congruency Checker which uses the services of the Data Manager and the underlying Data Manager Library to perform the congruency checks and to generate an XML report of the findings (this service will eventually be integral to the Data Package Manager).  The LTER Controlled Vocabulary working group demonstrated a suite of vocabulary related services that have now been introduced into the current LTER Data Portal - such services will also make their way into PASTA and the Network Information System.  See “” for more information about the 2011 LTER Information Managers meeting.

 * The 2011 Environmental Information Management conference, held directly after the LTER Information Managers meeting, provide a mixed venue of oral presentations, posters, and birds-of-a-feather sessions.  NIS developers participated in the “Functional Requirements for the EML Dataset Congruency Checker” birds-of-a-feather session, which focused on refining use case scenarios and requirements for future development of the Data Manager Library and its use within the Data Manager service.  One requirement of interest raised during the session was to include the ability to customize the use of the Data Manager Library quality check rules so that communities may toggle rules on/off and set the appropriate exception level to meet the needs of their user base.  The Data Manager Library is an open-source project that is bundled with the Ecological Metadata Language distribution and is available at “”.  See “” for more information about the 2011 Environmental Information Management conference.

 * Logic for harvesting and reading EML-based data packages has been implemented and tested as part of the first release version of Data Package Manager service, thereby making the Data Package Manager one of the most important services within PASTA.  The Data Package Manager will provide the public interface to create, read, update, and delete data packages; these services were previously provided by directly accessing the Metadata Catalog and Data Manager.  In a step to consolidate such services and to provide programmers with a single and consistent API, all management of data packages (and their metadata and data sub-components) will be directed to the Data Package Manager.  Future plans include merging both metadata and data management directly into the Data Package Manager.

 * Prototyping of Authorization services in a revised version of the Metadata Catalog are now complete; verification of correct authorization and full testing of the integration will begin in early October.  Once verified, the prototype implementation will provide a template for updating the Data Package Manager.

Previous monthly updates may be found at We thank you for taking the time to learn about our progress. Feel free to contact any of our teams through the online form at or email me directly at " ".