The InPort Metadata Catalog gives NOAA Fisheries, the National Ocean Service (NOS), and their state and regional partners the capability to store, search, and share essential information about their data holdings. It was originally described in 2003 and was funded in May 2004 under the Fisheries Information System (FIS) Program.

InPort stores metadata -- information about data -- which is needed to discover, understand, and use data. It does not store the data itself.

InPort, for example, can help answer the following questions:

  • What logbook data exist for US fisheries?
  • What time periods and geographic areas are covered by the logbook records?
  • Who controls the data and how do I contact that individual or organization?

Metadata records on InPort should include the "what, where, when, how, and who" about data holdings. For example, they should store details on the quality and completeness of data, confidentiality policies, research models, and methodologies. They should explain if the data are accessible, if there are any constraints on its use, and who to contact about getting or understanding the data.