CSN Overview


  CSDMS Standard Names — Overview

  • Our focus is more on identifying general rules and patterns for consistent construction of standard names that span the geosciences and less on creating an exhaustive list of names, which comes later. We have identified numerous patterns or "templates" that cover a broad range of needs and these are listed and discussed in the subsequent sections of this document. This includes numerous "object templates" as well as "quantity templates".

  • Each standard name must have an "object" part and a "quantity" part, with adjectives and modifiers (as prefixes) being used to help avoid ambiguity and identify a specific object and associated quantity.
  • Units are not given as part of the name, as with CF Standard Names. However, in CF Standard Names, a certain SI unit is often implied by the name. Also, the CF Standard Names allow inclusion of assumptions in the name, such as "_assuming_clear_sky". In CSDMS Standard Names, we use the name as a "key" or "index" to access not only the associated values but associated metadata that provides the units, set of assumptions, datum, how measured, etc. If all assumptions, etc. are included in the standard name, it limits the number of matches that are likely to be found during the discovery process or when trying to couple models. It also discourages a complete listing of the relevant assumptions. Metadata (including assumptions) can be used to distinguish between exact and approximate matches, and this information can be presented to users when desirable.

  • Guidelines for construction of CF Standard Names can be found at: CF Standard Name Guidelines. The rules for CSDMS Standard Names being developed here are meant to be both more general, more rigorously defined and less ambiguous. As of 5/3/12, there are 2134 CF Standard Names, and these will be favored (or assimilated) whenever they conform to the patterns below.

  • RDF (Resource Description Framework) is built around an "object - attribute - value" concept. Our "object - quantity" names follow a similar pattern and are used to retrieve values from a model or database . The word "attribute" seems to be a more general term than "quantity"; the latter is essentially an attribute that can be described with numbers and has units.

  • While our focus is on a "lingua franca", our standard names are often built from a hierarchical set of concepts and may eventually be used to construct a type of ontology.
  • The CF Standard Names promote the importance of specifying a surface. We could use an "object-at-location_object" pattern with "_at_" as another reserved word for this purpose. Possible examples are:
The CF Standard Names use the abbreviation "toa" for top of atmosphere.