Current climate change must be understood within the context of past climate variations, which are inferred from indirect measurements known as paleoclimate observations. A grand challenge for paleoclimatology is that these observations come in very disparate formats, so there is no standard way to exchange these records between researchers, or with machines. This hinders their re-use and hence lowers their value to science and society. Traditionally, these observations have been archived in data warehouses where the experts that make them have very little control over them. The NSF Earthcube LinkedEarth project aims to change this by creating an online platform that will do two things: (1) enable the curation of a publicly-accessible database by paleoclimate experts and (2) foster the development of standards, so paleoclimate data are easier to analyze, share, and re-use.
LinkedEarth will lower barriers to participation in the geosciences, enabling more "dark data" to join the public domain using community-sanctioned protocols. Facilitating access to geolocated data will open the door to integration with other disciplines (e.g. climate modeling, paleoecology, paleobiology, archeology), and to new educational tools, allowing educators to weave historical narratives around events documented in the paleoclimate record.
Structured Properties: The user can create site name, archive, domains, genus, interpretation, and measurement information. There is a link to download the dataset itself.
Crowd Curation: The interface is designed for organic collection of metadata properties while encouraging reuse and normalization of properties. When a user adds a new row, they can choose a new name for the property they want to specify. The systems uses a command line completion search (similar to Google's search completion) to show properties defined by other users that match what the user is typing. This capability gives users freedom to define their own metadata terms, while encouraging normalization and convergence.
Adoption: The metadata properties need not be predefined in advance, instead each user will be able to add new ones or mat adopt existing properties. The system automatically searches for existing entities in the Web of Data that match what the use is specifying and suggests linking to them. This capability allows separate communities to govern their own wikis, while having interlinked information about scientifically related entities.
Credit: The system automatically tracks the contributions of each user, and points to their pages. This gives users visibility, status, and reputation. Data producers are given credit via DOIs.
Query: Special wiki pages can be created whose content is dynamically generated through queries.
Data Citation: Each dataset described in the site is given a unique identifier that will enable citation.
Open Publication: All the metadata can be exported as RDF triples and made publicly available on the web.
The LinkedEarth Wiki leverages semantic wiki technology, with new extensions from the Organic Data Science project, to crowdsource the curation and standards development of paleoclimate data. Like traditional wikis, they enable the collaborative authoring of content. Secure access and time-stamped content also enable the tracking of changes and the accountability of users, as well as moderation capabilities by community members of recognized expertise. In contract to traditional wikis, semantic wikis allow contributors to assign meaning to their content, specifying relationships between the objects they describe. This enables artificial intelligence reasoners to parse, process, and translate these data into more useful forms. The Organic Data Science project extensions provide structured forms that make it very easy to specify semantic metadata and link datasets to investigators and publications. The LinkedEarth wiki automatically translates all the metadata that it collects into Linked Open Data, a universal format to share data across the web.
For more information about LinkedEarth visit our website, where you will also find tutorials on how to get started with the LinkedEarth Wiki. Don't forget to follow our blog and subscribe to our newsletter!
The map and table below are generated on the fly, by asking the wiki to list the coordinates for all the LiPD datasets that it knows about.