The NCAR Research Data Archives Hybrid Approach for Data
Discovery and Access
Douglas Schuster and Steven Worley
CISL/DSS, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, United States. , , http://rda.ucar.edu
Figure 1. RDA Data Discovery and Access System
User metrics display a continued growth in use of
customized request access options (Figure 2), and fairly
steady use of direct archive file downloads through the web
interface (Figure 3).
What purpose does a data archive center serve if users cant
find or access the holdings they might need to facilitate their
research discoveries? Removing the barriers that prevent
discovery and access of data assets, by a diverse set of users,
is a ongoing challenge facing data archive centers today.
To manage this challenge, The NCAR Research Data
Archive (RDA) employs a combination of in-house
developed and standards based community discovery and
access tools which support more than 10,000 users annually.
The tools and user communities they serve are highlighted
in this presentation.
1 PB Data Processed
30 TB Data Delivered
Workers remove a road
closed barrier as a new bridge opens.
Figure 2. Monthly customized RDA user access from the web
interface. Access options include data subset and file format
The RDA provides a variety of search, discovery, and access
tools to serve a broad user community (Figure 1).
Distributed searches and metadata harvesting are supported
by an Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata
Harvesting (OAI-PMH) access point, and a Geoportal server
with a Catalog Services for the Web (CSW) access point.
The in-house developed web interface provides keyword and
faceted search options, and access to detailed dataset
Once users find the data they want, several options are
available to support data access. Data subset requests can be
submitted through web interfaces, command line app clients,
command line apps located on internal HPC systems, and
Unidata THREDDS catalog supported web protocols. Data
files and resulting subset request output files can be
downloaded by server generated Wget and cURL scripts, or
through the command line app clients.
75 TB Data Accessed
40 TB Data Delivered
Figure 3. Monthly RDA direct archive file download from the
web interface. Wget and cURL download scripts drive this
usage. Partial file downloads of user selected parameters are
supported by the cURL based scripts.
Once sufficient data are available, usage metrics will also be
compiled for the THREDDS and command line apps/app
clients data access methods.
The members of the NCAR Computational Inforamtion
Systems Laboratory (CISL), Data Support Section (DSS)
support the infrastructure and software described in this
presentation. They include Joey Comeaux, Thomas Cram,
Cecilia Banner, Bob Dattore, Zaihua Ji, Kevin Manross,
Dave Stepaniak, and Chi-Fan Shih.
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