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About ADMS

SCADM coordinates the Antarctic Data Management System (ADMS), which is composed of:

The NADCs are a link between Antarctic scientists and the AMD. Antarctic scientists are responsible for creating metadata, but are also the major beneficiaries of the system.


The ADMS contains data descriptions - it is not a central database containing the actual data. All Antarctic scientific data will be described - including:

  • historical data
  • environmental monitoring data
  • data with restricted access

Data custodians (eg research institutions, funding bodies) are responsible for determining conditions of access to the data. Access to the directory will not be restricted - the directory and its products will be widely promoted. ADMS entries are a critical activity to Antarctic science, not merely an administrative overhead. The ADMS is the most appropriate starting point for overall Antarctic data management. It directly addresses the problems of awareness and access to relevant data.

However, the development of a comprehensive directory of Antarctic data is not a trivial task. It requires the commitment and participation of all SCAR member countries, and significant ongoing resources. Failure to provide this commitment and support will inevitably lead to unnecessary duplication of expenditure, lost opportunities for cooperation, and a lower return on investment from Antarctic science.

Roles in the ADMS

The roles of the constituents of the ADMS are clearly defined.

The role of SCADM is to:

  • Promote the establishment, coordination and support of the ADMS;
  • Promote data management within the Antarctic scientific community;
  • Assist in establishing Antarctic data management policies and priorities;
  • Report to SCAR on Antarctic data management issues;
  • Provide guidance to the Antarctic Master Directory (AMD) host, the Global Change Master Directory (GCMD);
  • Participate in the development of the International Directory Network (IDN).

Research Scientists:

  • Complete and submit metadata records to NADCs;
  • Are responsible for metadata record content;
  • Custodian of their data (though responsibility may be transferred to another organisation).

National Antarctic Data Centres (NADCs):

A National Antarctic Data Centre (NADC) is a focal point for Antarctic data. Countries may establish their own National Antarctic Data Centres (NADCs), or designate an existing institution as their NADC. Some NADCs have data management policies in place. Recruitment of National Antarctic Data Centres is a key responsibility of SCADM. Guidelines on setting up a NADC and entering metadata into the Antarctic Master Directory (AMD) are available from SCADM on request.

In summary, NADCs:

  • Provide the national focal point for the ADMS;
  • Assist national scientists in the production and maintenance of metadata records;
  • Validate the metadata records;
  • Forward periodically validated metadata records to the AMD host;
  • Provide advice on Antarctic data management issues.

Repositories & Directories

The ISC World Data Center system and groups such as the World Meteorological Organisation are data repositories. They contain a subset of data collected from Antarctic research, but data management can vary considerably depending on discipline and local factors.

The ADMS is a data index providing a unique, consistent and uniform source of information about all Antarctic data (multi-disciplinary and multi-national), no matter where they are located.

The International Directory Network (IDN), implemented by the national space agencies of the United States, Europe, and Japan under the auspices of the Committee on Earth Observation by Satellites (CEOS), provides universal access to data of different disciplines and located in different countries. The ADMS is an extension of the IDN. Within the IDN, the Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) is responsible for the development of DIF (Directory Interchange Format) metadata and support.