The goal of single-window metadata search has been common across polar science and research communities for decades. Given the diversity of nations, institutions, and scientific communities that collect data in the polar regions, that goal has so far largely eluded us. At the moment, there are dozens of metadata catalogues that have significant holdings relevant to polar researchers. This fragmentation makes it difficult for potential data users to find the most relevant data they need.

We believe that the time is ripe to re-examine the opportunities for developing a federated search tool to discover polar data. Federated search allows users to search multiple metadata catalogues simultaneously, while avoiding many of the technical challenges associated with duplicating and translating metadata records between different standards. These challenges include mismatches between vocabularies and the difficulty in keeping translated metadata records up-to-date when the original record is amended.

POLDER is investigating options for developing the tools that underpin federated search for our community, while building on global initiatives and existing tools like GEOSS, DataONE, and the Arctic Data Explorer. The Working Group reports to the Arctic Data Committee (ADC), Standing Committee on Antarctic Data Management (SCADM), and Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS). As well as exploring the available tools and platforms, POLDER will seek funding and resources to develop federated search tools.

 Icebreaker in the arctic

Credit: Sebastiaan Swart

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