Data and information management for the LTER-Europe network


A key feature of LTER is the need for long-term management of data and information. Because LTER activities are planned with a long-term view, careful consideration is given to data management, storage of specimens, locations of measurement plots and so on. Data management in particular is an important issue within the LTER community, and there is much activity to improve methods of long-term data management, data sharing and provision of access to data.

Data as well as metadata are managed by the different sites and platforms and because there are many different data owners, storage systems and data formats, using these data in an combined way often presents technical and legal challenges. The LTER community is, therefore, working hard to overcome these difficulties. Work has been progressing via several projects (ALTER-Net, EnvEurope, ExpeER) and in partnership with other ILTER members. This work continues in the eLTER H2020 project (2015-2019).

Want to reference a site in a publication? Use the DEIMS.ID! Resolvable - Persistent - Stable

DEIMS-SDR - Dynamic Ecological Information Management System Site and Dataset Registry

DEIMS-SDR, which is operated by ILTER, US LTER and LTER-Europe, provides extensive metadata on LTER sites, LTSER platforms, datasets and personnel. It provides a central repository for much LTER-related information. Its functions and content are being further developed in the eLTER H2020 project.

Learn more about DEIMS from the video:

Data Discovery and Access

The eLTER Data Data Integration Platform (DIP) is providing a single access to resources provided by the eLTER network. This encompassess datasets and services as well as simple descriptions of the eLTER sites. eLTER DIP is based on geonetwork enabling harvesting of metadata from existing metadata nodes as well as providing visualisation and download of data provided as SOS service.

Data Reporting Format

Based on first evaluations within the EnvEurope project eLTER H2020 worked on the development of a basic vocabulary to describe the data reporting format. The eLTER Data Reporting Format is based on the experience of ICP Integrated Monitoring as well as related networks. Data provided in the defined structure as CSV or XLS document can be uploaded to any file share. Documentation of the datasets can be provided via DEIMS-SDR.

The Data Reporting Format consists of the basic description of the data elements and an example reporting file consisting all the information. 

The related concepts are also described in the eLTER (H2020) project D3.3 Data formats.


Providing described and semantically well defined terms is the Basis for later analysis and it serves as harmonized specification of parameters in the observation and measurement of ecosystem processes. Therefore, EnvThes (Environmental Thesaurus), a controlled vocabulary, was developed for the LTER-Europe community in order to provide a unified semantic backbone for the provision of data in the eLTER context. EnvThes compiles a set of terms in order to describe in a harmonised way data resulting from observations and measurements of ecosystem processes across different domain specific sciences. It is used by DEIMS-SDR for common keywords for annotation and quering metadata purposes.

EnvThes is a SKOS vocabulary taking to account a range of conceptual models, like OGC O&M, OBOE and SERONTO, with the focus to implement main design principles laid down in the Complex Properties Model (Leadbetter & Vodden 2016). EnvThes is hosted by UKRI-CEH using TopBraid and governed by LTER Europe. It is a community effort with a editor team composed by three stable members from the terrestrial domain and supported by three additional scientists from diverse domains (remote sensing, freshwater domain and landscape ecology) contributing when needed. The facilitator supports and supervises the editor team and is responsible for structural and semantic accuracy. Github is used for version management and for the management of user requests.

Next enhancements planned are additions in terms of definitions and translations in other languages but also links to other terminologies. 


LTER-Europe is a Member Node of the Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE), a community driven project providing access to data across multiple member repositories, supporting enhanced search and discovery of Earth and environmental data. Some European LTER datasets are searchable via the DataONE data portal.

Further information

For further information on information management in LTER-Europe, please contact Johannes Peterseil, johannes.peterseil @

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