A data repository is a centralized place to store and maintain data. A repository can consist of one or more databases or files which can be distributed over a network. Data repositories are often managed by data curation personnel who ensure that files are managed and preserved for the long-term.
Why Use a Repository?
Storing data in data repositories and data warehouses is highly encouraged and is part of the Preserve portion of the data lifecycle. Data repositories can help make a researcher's data more discoverable and accessible, and lead to potential reuse.
Data repositories can also serve as backups during rare events where data are lost to the researcher and must be retrieved. However, it is still important for researchers to perform their own data backups and not to rely on data repositories as the only backups.
Depending on the field, scientists may be required to store their data in certain repositories. Examples of repositories include the Core Research Center, the National Ice Core Laboratory, and the National Water Information System.
Example USGS Repositories
The National Water Information System (NWIS) provides access to water-resources data collected at approximately 1.5 million sites in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Online access to this data is organized around the following categories:
The USGS investigates the occurrence, quantity, quality, distribution, and movement of surface and underground waters and disseminates the data to the public, State and local governments, public and private utilities, and other Federal agencies involved with managing our water resources.
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) archives remotely sensed images of the Earth's land surface. These data are acquired by civilian satellites and aircraft and used to study a wide range of natural hazards, global environmental change, and economic development and conservation issues.
Available data include:
EROS staff members manage and distribute these data to scientists, policy makers, and educators worldwide.
The USGS South Florida Information Access (SOFIA) Web site was established in 1994 to provide interdisciplinary access in support of research, decisionmaking, and resource management for the South Florida ecosystem restoration effort.
SOFIA focuses on the projects and products of the South Florida PES Initiative, as well as related projects and products from other information providers, including Federal, state and local agencies; universities; and non-governmental organizations.
SOFIA personnel include a cross-bureau team of scientists, information managers, and informatics specialists working in close collaboration with partner and client agencies outside the USGS.