USGS Data Management

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U.S. Geological Survey Data Lifecycle Diagram Plan Acquire Process Analyze Preserve Publish/Share Manage Quality Describe (Metadata, Documentation) Backup & Secure The USGS Science Data Lifecycle
U.S. Geological Survey Data Lifecycle Diagram

Data Management: Planning

A documented sequence of intended actions to identify and secure resources and gather, maintain, secure, and utilize data holdings comprise a Data Management Plan. This also includes the procurement of funding and the identification of technical and staff resources for full lifecycle data management. Once the data needs are determined, a system to store and manipulate the data can then be identified and developed.

Data Management Plans

Planning for Data Management involves answering questions about the data: Do they already exist? How will they be obtained or collected? What is the schedule and budget for data collection? How will the data be checked and certified? What are the likely uses for the data? How will the data be stored, accessed, and protected? A good data management plan provides a strategy for how you will answer all of these questions. Learn more about data management plans.

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Data & File Formats

Standardization of Data & File Formats makes the data easier to work with both for the original researcher and for others who will use the data. Learn more about data formats.

Organize Files and Data

File organization with a logical, clear structure and labeling system enables not only others to access your data, but makes it easier for you to find your own data as well. These are the public's data, and we have a stewardship responsibility to the data. Thinking about how you will organize your files and data early on in planning may save you from having to reorganize and rename files later on. Learn more about organizing files and data.

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Data Templates

Creating Data Templates for data collection, data storage, and metadata saves time and increases consistency. Utilizing form validation increases data entry reliability. Learn more about data templates.

Data Standards

Standards make it easier to create, share, and integrate data by making sure that there is a clear understanding of how the data are represented and that the data you receive are in a form that you expected. Learn more about data standards.

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Data Stewardship: Roles and Responsibilities

Data management is a crucial foundation of your professional work. The data you collect and analyze are a national resource. They are not just your data or my data, they are USGS data - paid for by taxpayers' money - that are being used to make all types of management decisions, many of which have substantial economic and even health and safety consequences. All data are "corporate data" but it can be appropriate for certain data to be maintained and kept at lower levels of the organization. You must evaluate their role in your job and how well you manage your data in your everyday work. Learn more about data stewardship.

What the U.S. Geological Survey Manual Requires:

The USGS Manual Chapter 1100.1 - Information Product Planning discusses planning for information products, which include data products:

"Policy: Planning for information products begins as early as possible during the evolution of a project. A written planning document must be developed prior to production for each information product. An information product plan will ensure adequate management and budgeting for all elements of the information lifecycle including planning, development, dissemination, documentation, storage, evaluation, and disposition."

Note: Information Product: An information product is the compilation of scientific communication or knowledge such as facts, data, or interpretations in any medium (e.g., print, digital, Web) or form, including textual, numerical, graphical, cartographic, or audiovisual, to be disseminated to a defined audience or customer, scientific or nonscientific, internal or external.