Explore ScienceBase

  1. Navigate ScienceBase
  2. Search ScienceBase


1. Navigate ScienceBase 

The Homepage

The ScienceBase homepage displays options for searching and browsing ScienceBase content:

Screenshot of ScienceBase catalog homepage

Community in ScienceBase is a designated project space. There are active communities in ScienceBase for USGS Science Centers, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, USGS Mission Areas, and other groups. 

From the homepage, select “Log in” and enter your ScienceBase username and password. USGS employees can use their Active Directory credentials to log in. Non-USGS employees can request a ScienceBase account if they are collaborating on a project with USGS personnel. 

Users who have logged in can access the “Folders” drop-down on the left side of the screen. Clicking on “Folders” will bring up a directory navigation sidebar. This sidebar displays personal items (“My Items”), a list of community spaces and system folders:

Screenshot showing the navigation sidebar on the ScienceBase homepage

Users can navigate to their community by using the directory navigation sidebar. Alternatively, users can select “Communities” in the black title bar to access a list of existing communities. The drop-down menu on the left side of each community name provides access to top-level folders and options to edit community settings and permissions:

Screenshot of a community drop-down menu

ScienceBase Items

ScienceBase item is any digital object in ScienceBase. Items can be created for a wide variety of purposes. For example, users can create new items to store and share uploaded data (almost any file type), metadata information or links to online resources. Users can also create links to existing ScienceBase items. The following screenshot shows a list of items and links created for the Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Cooperative community:

Screenshot of a list of ScienceBase items as they appear in a folder view

All items in ScienceBase have an identical format (based on the ScienceBase item core model). This means that all items have the same metadata fields and can be described using the same edit form. 

ScienceBase items include records and folders. In other data management systems, folders are just containers for records. In ScienceBase, because folders and records have the same fields and format, folders can be described, viewed and utilized in the same ways as records. All items in ScienceBase, both records and folders, are discoverable through Internet search engines.

Relationships between ScienceBase items are defined with the terms parent and child items. For example, a parent folder can contain a child subfolder, which in turn can be a parent item to a child record.

The title bar in ScienceBase contains a “breadcrumb trail” to assist with navigation and to show item hierarchy:

Screenshot of a ScienceBase item highlighting the breadcrumb trail

All items, no matter where they are in a hierarchy, have two views: the "item view," which displays metadata and any uploaded resources, and the "folder view" which shows a list of child items.

Here is the folder view of the folder “NFHAP Inland Assessment” in the National Fish Habitat Partnership community, showing the list of child items:

Screenshot of the folder view of a ScienceBase item

To switch between the item view and folder view, click the item’s title in the title bar breadcrumb trail. There is a drop-down menu to allow selection of different views. The same menu options are available in the “View” drop-down menu on the far right side of the screen:

Screenshot highlighting the path to switch from the folder view to the item view

Here is a screenshot of the item view of NFHAP Inland Assessment:

Screenshot of the item view of a ScienceBase item

To switch back to the folder view, click on the item’s title in the breadcrumb trail or the “View” drop-down menu:

Screenshot highlighting the path to switch from the item view to the folder view


2. Search ScienceBase

Basic Search

Search for items by using the search box on the ScienceBase homepage. To the right of the search box is a link to the "Advanced Search," which allows users to refine search criteria.

Screenshot of the search bar on the ScienceBase homepage

Browse Items

The ScienceBase homepage provides options to browse items by category (data type), tag and location (users can access an interactive map and draw a bounding box to filter items by location).

Screenshot of the browse options on the ScienceBase homepage

Please note that not all items have been assigned data type categories, tags and spatial information, so browse results may not be comprehensive.

View Search Results

Search results matching user-specified criteria are generated in a new window. The number of search results is displayed in the top left corner. Search results may be further constrained by selecting a filter link in the "Filters" box on the left side of the page. Filter criteria may include dates, data type, contacts etc. If items have spatial information, their location is displayed in a map on the right side of the screen. Beneath the filter box, users may choose to download search results in several different formats. JSON and ATOM are often used to display information in applications and websites. CSV (comma separated value) format is used to generate spreadsheets (e.g. in Microsoft Excel) and is useful for creating reports to list items discovered in search results.

Screenshot showing the results of a search in ScienceBase

New searches may be initiated from search results page by typing terms into the search box at top of screen or visiting the Advanced Search to refine search criteria.

Basic Search Tips

The ScienceBase search engine seeks specific search terms in the metadata of ScienceBase items. Searches are not case sensitive. For example:

  • Flood – will return results with the word “Flood” and "flood" in an item’s metadata.  It will not return items with the word “Flooding.”
  • Flooding – will return results with the word “Flooding” and "flooding" in an item’s metadata.  It will not return items with the word “Flood.”

If two or more words are entered in the search box, ScienceBase will find items that contain both words separately. For example:

  • Wild Horses – will return items that contain the words "Wild" AND "Horses" in the metadata, but not items that only have "Wild" or "Horses." Terms "Wild" and "Horses" do not have to be sequential in the metadata to meet this search criterion.

The basic search box does not discern operands (use of and, or, special characters) and only conducts simple searches. The Advanced Search window (see below) allows the use of Lucene Query syntax, which includes operands.


3. Advanced Search Capabilities in ScienceBase 

Tips for Using ScienceBase Advanced Search

The advanced search allows for Lucene Query syntax, which includes operands.

Advanced users may also wish to review the developer documentation (email to request access). 

Site Team