A private grant was awarded to the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) to study the challenges and strategies that libraries and researchers face in trying to discover linked spatial data via metadata on diverse platforms and in a variety of environments. The research is being carried out in a collaboration between the UCSB Library and the Center for Spatial Studies. The desired outcome of the Spatial Discovery project is to (1) develop and test a technical protocol enabling researchers to easily identify spatial data located across disparate web-accessible databases, repositories, and catalogs; and (2) to promote the evolution of the spatial university through expanded awareness of and adoption of spatial data and analysis in research and teaching. The resulting one-stop discovery mechanism will be suitable as a primary web-delivered search tool capable of functioning within a research data cloud, as well as a resource within institutional discovery frameworks. In addition, the Interdisciplinary Research Collaboratory will promote increased integration of spatially-framed instructional and research activities across disciplines through targeted collaborative programming and outreach.
In the first phase of this project, a Spatial Discovery Specialist Meeting was held in Santa Barbara on June 17-18, 2015. A report of this meeting has been published, and an in-depth white paper that goes in-depth on the methods and issues related to spatial discovery is currently in development.