Submit your data

General guide to data submission

Data delivery mechanisms

The following delivery choices are available (in order of our preference)

1. By email to the Data Officer or the BODC contact for a particular project. Please note BODC currently has a limit of 5 MB for single email transfers.

2. By standard mail on DVD, CDROM, or diskette (Zip or floppy).

3. Data can be left on an accessible ftp site for BODC staff to collect. Please provide collection details to BODC.

4. By ftp to the BODC area of the National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool (NOC) web site. There are data security issues relating to transfer by this method and ideally it should only be used as a last resort. A username and password is required. Suppliers wishing to provide data in this manner should contact BODC for details. It is important that users notify BODC before transfer of data in this way.

Data file format and file naming

BODC can handle data in virtually any format, providing software to read it is readily available or that it is described in sufficient detail for us to write the software. In all cases, we require an explanation of how the format has been used so that we can understand what we have been given. Electronic submission may be eased by using a WinZip compatible compression routine. Statistical information, such as a list of file names supplied and their sizes or even the range of values for each parameter will help us ingest your data correctly.

As we use UNIX systems we would appreciate it if filenames did not include embedded blanks. Please replace these with underscores (e.g. ‘my_file’ instead of ‘my file’).

Parameter descriptions

Please pay particular attention to providing us with clear descriptions of the parameters that you have sent to us, including clear column headings and the units used. Indicate which parameters are directly measured and which are derived from a combination of measurements. For derived measurements, please include the formulae used by leaving them in an Microsoft Excel spreadsheet cell, including them in an accompanying document or providing a literature reference.

Accompanying metadata

BODC endeavour to incorporate all data submitted into the relational database systems for the purpose of long term viability and future access. This requires the data set to be accompanied by key data set information (metadata). Detailed metadata collation guidelines for specific types of data are either available or under development to assist those involved in the collection, processing, quality control and exchange of those data types.

A summary checklist is provided below. For all types of data we require information about

  • Where the data were collected: location (preferably as latitude and longitude) and depth/height
  • When the data were collected (date and time in UTC or clearly specified local time zone)
  • How the data were collected (e.g. sampling methods, instrument types, analytical techniques)
  • How you refer to the data (e.g. station numbers, cast numbers)
  • Who collected the data, including name and institution of the data originator(s) and the principal investigator
  • What has been done to the data (e.g. details of processing and calibrations applied, algorithms used to compute derived parameters)
  • Watch points for other users of the data (e.g. problems encountered and comments on data quality)

This information may be supplied in any standard document format (e.g. Microsoft Word or text) and will be incorporated into either specific metadata fields in our database or as comments in the documentation we will prepare to accompany your data.