BUILDING THE CHRONOS SYSTEM DATABASES: A PARTNERSHIP PROCESS
A key to successful database construction is working with the discipline researchers to ensure that their needs are addressed. Conversely, we have quickly discovered that this also requires researchers who are willing to broaden their understanding of databases and cyberinfrastructure in general. CHRONOS is also working closely with science-based initiatives, such as EARTHTIME and GeoSystems, to provide them with the databases and tools to meet their needs. With its partners, CHRONOS is designing and helping to populate databases for the various constituents of chronostratigraphy, including: biostratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy, geochronology, chemostratigraphy, and cyclostratigraphy, as well as those necessary for time scale documentation and age model construction. Also included are the necessary metadata for each to help the researcher understand the "who, what, when, where, and how " of the data compilations that help define chronostratigraphy.
One example of database development is provided by Neptune, a relational database of close to 400,000 age-calibrated and taxonomically documented Cenozoic marine plankton occurrences from DSDP and ODP cores currently being populated with Mesozoic data and post-1997 ODP sites. Another is the development of a geochronology database that rides on the underlying structure of the PaleoStrat system. One of the challenges here has been to utilize the PaleoStrat engine to provide the necessary information on the stratigraphy, lithology, paleontology, chronostratigraphic ages, petrology, etc. and at the sample level build a geochronology database module to meet the needs of the geochronology community that is trying to calibrate the time scale (i.e., EARTHTIME). These modules must also be compatible with those that exist or are being constructed such as EarthRef, the Canadian Geological Survey Knowledgebase, and Geoscience Australias Ozchron.