We group our proposed research activities into two main categories: (1) Data collection, and (2) developing
web-based dynamic tools to exploit the data sets collected. These two topics are inseparable and must be dealt
Building a comprehensive information system is time consuming and requires significant financial and labor resources.
Collecting appropriate data sets, digitizing analog data, and organizing these data are challenging tasks and require
significant effort. However, the benefits of having a comprehensive information management system for educational
efforts greatly outweigh the difficulties. In constructing the geoscience component of the NSDL system the most
important issues that we need to consider are the objective, scale, and purpose as well as the level at which they
are likely to be used.
Although the intellectual and technical challenges are immense in developing a multi-purpose digital library, we
have several significant assets at Cornell. Currently, we hold one of the largest organized digital database systems
developed for the solid earth sciences that is publicly accessible via the Internet (http://atlas.geo.cornell.edu).
The experience we have gained in designing this information system and developing a large volume database will
be a guiding mechanism and guarantee for the success of our proposed research efforts. Data aggregation for a broad
discipline, such as the solid earth sciences, is time consuming and tedious work and will take years to accomplish.
We are already 5 years ahead in data collection. Under this work we plan to further populate the library with data
sets of global coverage. The large volume of data sets at hand will help us to build a quite comprehensive digital
library with relatively small NSDL investment. We have already established, tested, and validated procedures for
data discovery and capturing processes. Issues such as locating available data sets, handling their formats, data
capture mechanisms, data quality determination, data resolution, data usage criteria, and Metadata describing the
properties of each and every data set collected must be dealt with rigorously, accurately, and systematically for
a successful and stable digital library system. With these goals and our expertise on the subject we propose to
accomplish the following tasks in our data collection section.