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Establishing best practice for the documentation and dissemination of marine biological data

COWRIE are pleased to publish the above report prepared by the Marine Biological Association. The report is a review of aspects of documenting and disseminating marine biological data. In January 2007 two separate workshops were held; one looking at marine biological data standards and the second on image and video standards. This report continues the work of these workshops in establishing guidance for best practice in documenting and disseminating marine biological data. The aim of the report is to put forward a number of ideas for discussion to facilitate more efficient and effective flow of data between contractors and data commissioners and between data providers and archive centres. Included is a brief review of current work in collating protocols, prior to looking at the key information required to document methodologies. Data requirements were reviewed by data collection methods and a checklist of essential metadata and archiving formats has been provided. Examples of data standards are provided, collated from organisations attending the original workshops. The report reviews different data formats and some minimum and recommended standards are suggested. A number of areas requiring further clarification are identified and recommendations for future work are also made.