NASA's National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC) distributes nearly 500 NASA data sets primarily focused on the cryosphere. As with all DAACs, this valuable domain expertise results in data catalogs, which, on the surface, appear to consist of many similar data sets. Users must be able to differentiate between data sets and determine which are most useful and relevant to their applications. In response to this, NSIDC DAAC has been developing a data set search tool with researchers' needs and preferences in mind. Web metrics and usability studies have been used to answer the following questions:
How do users search for data?
Which data attributes are of primary importance when selecting a data set?
When similar data sets exist, how is one chosen over another?
NSIDC DAAC has found that data set differentiation is driven by both what you present and how you present it. The “what” can range from relatively straightforward information such as the parameter measured or the spatial coverage to the more complex and nuanced such as data usage suggestions or data usage metrics. The “how” includes considerations such as making data set information scannable and comparable to tailoring relevance ranking algorithms to match user expectations. In this webinar, we will discuss the strategies that NSIDC DAAC has employed and explore the features of the NSIDC Search tool.