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Observation Data Model

An observation record is a collection of information associated with a unique data collection activity or event. The information (attribute data) comprising a record is generally based on something that has been seen, heard, noticed or provided by a survey participant. A collection of observation records comprises a dataset.

The Observation Data Model (ODM) describes a number of “profiles” for particular domains (or areas of science) and “Core” sets of attributes which must be included for particular types of surveys. These Core attribute sets can apply across multiple, but not necessarily all, domain profiles. The diagram below provides a graphical representation of how this works.

The purpose of defining “core” attributes for domain profiles is to enable data from different datasets to be aggregated for larger scale analysis than is possible with individual datasets. When attributes are common across different domain profiles, different datasets from within that group of domain profiles can be joined to enable analysis and insights which are otherwise impossible to achieve – core attributes enable cross-domain dataset joining. Owing to the potentially infinite variability and complexity of survey requirements it is possible that core attributes for one set of profiles may not include a required attribute that is included as a core attribute for a different set of profiles. In this case the latter may be adopted by the survey needing to use it, instead of creating a completely new and different attribute extension for the profile needing it.

Docusaurus with Keytar

ODM domain profiles will use existing domain-specific data standards as much as possible, where they exist. The table below provides profiles for current known domain standards and indicates where such standards either do not yet exist of if they do, they have not yet been discovered by the PPSR-Core team. Development of these profiles is still a work in progress and the PPSR-Core project team is continuing to develop new profiles and refine existing ones. We are particularly keen to have expert domain-based knowledge contributing to this process, especially in domain areas which are under-represented and not well described. Please see our contribute page to get involved

Information Sharing Example

Scientists and platform managers need to share scientific observations about the world. They need to do so to advance science and decision making. And they may also need to do so to leverage the unique strengths of various platforms to improve data quality. For example, a project on might ask its volunteers to collect species occurrence observations of a rare butterfly. But they also need to crowd source the identification of this specific rare butterfly. Imagine their delight when they learn they can automatically share observations submitted to their CitSci project and have these appear on iNaturalist and then have this online community verify the taxonomic identity of the butterfly observation to make this observation become deemed as “Research Grade.” Then, their delight grows when they learn that all Research Grade observations are automatically shared with the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Now we have observations submitted to one platform becoming verified on another, sent back to the original platform so it can be represented as Research Grade, and also being sent to the go-to-source for global biodiversity data worldwide.

Future Work

It is intended to comprise a series of domain appropriate sets of attributes and/or schemas which are required for effective and useful aggregation of data for scientific use. An example of this would be the Darwin Core standard used for global biodiversity occurrence data. Other domains also have their specific standards. The ODM will recommend application of relevant existing domain standards where they exist, develop new models where they don't, and will seek to identify and standardize common attributes across domains to enable multi-disciplinary aggregation of datasets on those attributes for cross-disciplinary analysis.

Domain area (type of science)ODM Core attribute setDomain Profile standard(s)
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences - Agriculture, Land And Farm ManagementEvent Core
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences - Animal ProductionEvent Core
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences - Crop And Pasture ProductionEvent Core
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences - Fisheries SciencesEvent Core
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences - Forestry SciencesEvent Core
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences - Horticultural ProductionEvent Core
Art Theory And Criticism
Biological Sciences - BiodiversityEvent Core Darwin Core
Audubon Core
Observations and Measurements
Biological Sciences - EcologyEvent CoreEcological Metadata Language - EML
Darwin Core
Audubon Core
Observations and Measurements
Biological Sciences - Evolutionary Biology
Biological Sciences - Genetics
Biological Sciences - Microbiology
Biological Sciences - Other Biological Sciences
Biological Sciences - Physiology
Biological Sciences - Plant Biology
Biological Sciences - Zoology
Chemical Sciences - Analytical Chemistry
Chemical Sciences - Inorganic Chemistry
Chemical Sciences - Macromolecular And Materials Chemistry
Chemical Sciences - Medicinal And Biomolecular Chemistry
Chemical Sciences - Organic Chemistry
Chemical Sciences - Physical Chemistry
Chemical Sciences - Theoretical And Computational Chemistry
Earth Sciences - Atmospheric Sciences
Earth Sciences - GeochemistryEvent Core
Earth Sciences - GeologyEvent Core
Earth Sciences - GeophysicsEvent Core
Earth Sciences - Hydrological SciencesEvent Core
Earth Sciences - Oceanography
Earth Sciences - Physical Geography And Environmental GeoscienceEvent Core
Engineering - Aerospace Engineering
Engineering - Automotive Engineering
Engineering - Biomedical Engineering
Engineering - Chemical Engineering
Engineering - Civil Engineering
Engineering - Electrical And Electronic Engineering
Engineering - Environmental Engineering
Engineering - Food Sciences
Engineering - Manufacturing Engineering
Engineering - Maritime Engineering
Engineering - Materials Engineering
Engineering - Mechanical Engineering
Engineering - Other Engineering
Engineering - Resources Engineering And Extractive Metallurgy
Environmental Sciences - Ecological ApplicationsEvent Core
Environmental Sciences - Environmental Science And ManagementEvent Core
Environmental Sciences - Soil SciencesEvent Core
Information And Computing Sciences - Artificial Intelligence And Image Processing
Information And Computing Sciences - Computation Theory And Mathematics
Information And Computing Sciences - Computer Software
Information And Computing Sciences - Distributed Computing
Information And Computing Sciences - Information Systems
Information And Computing Sciences - Library And Information Studies
Language, Communication And Culture - Communication And Media Studies
Language, Communication And Culture - Cultural Studies
Language, Communication And Culture - Language Studies
Language, Communication And Culture - Linguistics
Language, Communication And Culture - Literary Studies
Law And Legal Studies
Mathematical Sciences - Mathematical Physics
Mathematical Sciences - Numerical And Computational Mathematics
Mathematical Sciences - Other Mathematical Sciences
Medical And Health Sciences - Cardiorespiratory Medicine And Haematology
Medical And Health Sciences - Clinical Sciences
Medical And Health Sciences - Complementary And Alternative Medicine
Medical And Health Sciences - Dentistry
Medical And Health Sciences - Human Movement And Sports Science
Medical And Health Sciences - Immunology
Medical And Health Sciences - Medical Biochemistry And Metabolomics
Medical And Health Sciences - Medical Microbiology
Medical And Health Sciences - Medical Physiology
Medical And Health Sciences - Neurosciences
Medical And Health Sciences - Nursing
Medical And Health Sciences - Nutrition And Dietetics
Medical And Health Sciences - Oncology And Carcinogenesis
Medical And Health Sciences - Optometry And Ophthalmology
Medical And Health Sciences - Paediatrics And Reproductive Medicine
Medical And Health Sciences - Pharmacology And Pharmaceutical Sciences
Medical And Health Sciences - Public Health And Health Services
Philosophy And Religious Studies - Applied Ethics
Philosophy And Religious Studies - History And Philosophy Of Specific Fields
Philosophy And Religious Studies - Philosophy
Philosophy And Religious Studies - Religion And Religious Traditions
Physical Sciences - Astronomical And Space Sciences
Physical Sciences - Atomic, Molecular, Nuclear, Particle And Plasma Physics
Physical Sciences - Classical Physics
Physical Sciences - Condensed Matter Physics
Physical Sciences - Optical Physics
Physical Sciences - Other Physical Sciences
Physical Sciences - Quantum Physics
Psychology And Cognitive Sciences - Cognitive Science
Psychology And Cognitive Sciences - Psychology
Studies In Human Society - Anthropology
Studies In Human Society - Criminology
Studies In Human Society - Demography
Studies In Human Society - Human Geography
Studies In Human Society - Other Studies In Human Society
Studies In Human Society - Policy And Administration
Studies In Human Society - Political Science
Studies In Human Society - Social Work
Studies In Human Society - Sociology
Technology - Agricultural Biotechnology
Technology - Communications Technologies
Technology - Computer Hardware
Technology - Environmental Biotechnology
Technology - Industrial Biotechnology
Technology - Medical Biotechnology
Technology - Nanotechnology
Technology - Other Technology
Last updated on by imitton