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InPort Keywords Revamp Overview

Starting with Release 4.8.0 (July 2021), the InPort team has started a multi-release effort to revamp and improve the use of keywords in InPort. The main purposes of this initiative are:

  • To facilitate and normalize the use of controlled vocabularies, for improved discoverability and standardization within InPort, and other systems where InPort metadata is disseminated
  • To provide multiple options for InPort users to fully and appropriately describe their metadata

Up until this point, all keywords in InPort have effectively been Uncontrolled Keywords. With this revamp, metadata can now be described using Controlled Keywords, Uncontrolled Keywords, and Tags.

Overview of Phases and Features

The following is the current plan of phases for the Keywords Revamp implementation. These plans are not final, and the order and schedule of the phases is subject to change.

  • Phase 1 - Release 4.8.0
    • UI Support: Controlled Keywords, Uncontrolled Keywords and Tags
    • Thesaurus Support: GCMD Science, GCMD Location, GCMD Instrument, GCMD Platform, GCMD Vertical Data Resolution, GCMD Temporal Data Resolution, ISO 19115 Topic Category
    • Updates to Exports: InPort XML, ISO 19115, Dataset Schema
  • Phase 2 - Release 5.0.0
    • Thesaurus Support: GCMD Service, GCMD Data Center, GCMD Horizontal Data Resolution
    • InPort XML Loader Support: GCMD Keywords, ISO 19115 Topic Category
    • Migration of Existing Keywords to Controlled Keywords: GCMD Science (All), GCMD Service (Exact Matches Only), GCMD Location Keywords (Exact Matches Only)
  • Phase 3 - Release 5.1.0
    • Thesaurus Support: WoRMS
    • InPort XML Loader Support: WoRMS
  • Phase 4 - Release 5.2.0 (Current)
    • Thesaurus Support: ISSCFG
  • Phase 5
    • Thesaurus Support: ITIS
    • InPort XML Loader Support: ITIS
    • Migration of Existing Keywords to Controlled Keywords: GCMD Instrument Keywords, GCMD Platform Keywords
  • Phase 6
    • Migration of Existing Keywords to Controlled Keywords: ISO 19115 Topic Category
    • Data Set Completeness Rubric Update

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Controlled Keywords

Controlled Keywords In InPort represent a set of standardized, controlled vocabularies that are commonly used within the InPort community and across NOAA, and will be officially supported in InPort metadata entry, import and search features.

Using shared, normalized vocabularies helps to delineate relationships between metadata records in a clear and unambiguous way, in contrast to free-text or uncontrolled vocabularies. This, in turn, improves discoverability and search within metadata catalogs, as well as the transmissibility and discoverability of metadata records in other systems.

When describing metadata, authors should aim to use Controlled Keywords whenever possible. In particular, NASA's Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Keywords has emerged as a commonly used vocabulary within NOAA for describing metadata. Consequently, even if your organization standardizes on a different thesaurus, we strongly recommend also including equivalent GCMD Keywords for the most important keywords when possible.

In reflection of the importance of Controlled Keywords, the Data Set Completeness Rubric will be modified in a future release of InPort to count only Controlled Keywords for scoring. Please see the Rubric section for more information on this change.

Both Controlled Keywords and Uncontrolled Keywords are included in InPort standards-based metadata exports for dissemination, such as ISO 19115 and Dataset Schema.

In addition, Controlled Keywords, along with Uncontrolled Keywords and Tags, are included in the list of fields which are searched on by InPort's search functions.

Thesaurus Support Plan

In InPort, Controlled Keywords can only be entered from the currently supported InPort Controlled Keywords Thesauri. Unlike Uncontrolled Keywords, they cannot be entered as free-text and must be selected from a controlled list.

InPort is planning official support for the following thesauri/vocabularies by the end of the Keywords Revamp. We also welcome suggestions and feedback on supporting additional thesauri which may provide value for the broader InPort community.

  • Phase 1 - Release 4.8.0
    • Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
    • Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
    • Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Instrument Keywords
    • Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Platform Keywords
    • Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Temporal Data Resolution Keywords
    • Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Vertical Data Keywords
    • ISO 19115 Topic Category
  • Phase 2 - Release 5.0.0
    • Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Service Keywords
    • Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Data Center Keywords
    • Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Horizontal Data Resolution Keywords
  • Phase 3 - Release 5.1.0
    • World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS)
  • Phase 4 - Release 5.2.0 (Current)
    • International Standard Statistical Classification of Fishing Gear (ISSCFG)
  • Phase 5
    • Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)

Migrating to Controlled Keywords

If you have already been using these thesauri in your records as free-text Keywords, we will be attempting to migrate these into Controlled Keywords automatically as part of this revamp effort. To facilitate this migration process, please ensure that you are using official thesaurus names and keywords as much as possible.

Please note that this migration will only be performed once on Keywords for each new Controlled Keyword Thesaurus shortly after it is officially supported. The Overview section indicates the phases in which each migration will be taking place.

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Uncontrolled Keywords

Uncontrolled Keywords in InPort represent keywords belonging to uncontrolled vocabularies, or controlled vocabularies that InPort does not officially support. They may or may not be associated with a thesaurus, and are entered in InPort as unconstrained, free-text descriptors.

We recommend the use of Uncontrolled Keywords for:

  • keywords that do not belong to an existing controlled vocabulary
  • keywords belonging to a vocabulary which is specific or internal to your organization
  • keywords that belong to a controlled vocabulary that InPort does not support

As part of the Keywords Revamp, all existing Keywords in InPort have now become Uncontrolled Keywords. In addition, existing Keywords using controlled thesauri which InPort supports will be automatically migrated to Controlled Keywords by the end of the Revamp process, provided they match as closely as possible to official keyword and thesaurus names.

Both Uncontrolled Keywords and Controlled Keywords are included in InPort standards-based metadata exports for dissemination, such as ISO 19115 and Dataset Schema.

In addition, Uncontrolled Keywords, along with Controlled Keywords and Tags, are included in the list of fields which are searched on by InPort's search functions.

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Tags

Tags represent the most "lightweight" form of descriptors in InPort. They provide a way for InPort users to annotate their records with user-defined labels and vocabularies, in order to create categorical relationships between records and facilitate search.

For example, a Program or a Group within a larger InPort Organization may choose to use their name as a Tag, to more easily search within their own records on InPort.

Tags are not meant to be associated with a thesaurus or controlled vocabulary, and should not be used when a Controlled Keyword or Uncontrolled Keyword is more appropriate.

Tags are included in the list of fields which are searched on by InPort's search functions. However, unlike Controlled/Uncontrolled Keywords, they are not included in InPort standards-based metadata exports for dissemination, such as ISO 19115 and Dataset Schema. Consequently, they are only intended for internal uses within InPort organizations, or solely within InPort.

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Rubric Scoring Changes for Keywords

To encourage the use of Controlled Keywords, the Data Set Completeness Rubric will be updated in a future InPort release to only count Controlled Keywords when assessing keywords-related criteria.

These changes are currently planned for Phase 6 of the Keywords Revamp. Although a firm date for this release has not yet been determined, changes will not take effect until October 2022 or later, to provide sufficient time for metadata authors to make or plan changes to their records.

To prepare for this change, we highly recommend that metadata authors make use of Controlled Keywords for any new metadata records going forward, as well as evaluate existing records for their inclusion of supported thesauri in advance.

Please keep in mind that any prior, existing free-text Keywords which reference a controlled thesaurus in the supported list, will be automatically migrated to a Controlled Keyword, provided it is using official thesaurus and keyword names.

If you have any questions or concerns about these changes, or require assistance with this effort, please contact InPort Support so that we can help facilitate your changes wherever possible.

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