Winter 2016

This area is NOT intended to be changed. Unless a textual update is warranted.

ScienceBase image - Text: ScienceBase Updates - User tips, developments, and news


Redesigned ScienceBase Pages

A few months ago, the ScienceBase Team conducted a usability study in partnership with University of Tennessee’s User eXperience Laboratory to learn how visitors use ScienceBase to search and retrieve information and data. We learned a lot through this study and are currently implementing a series of changes that we think will improve access and discovery of USGS scientific data within ScienceBase. You may have already noticed a few changes in how page sections are organized. For example, the list of child items has been moved to a more central location on every page, the map and images have been moved to the right, and there is a new (editable) field for the recommended citation for a resource within ScienceBase (fig. 1).

In general, our goal is to highlight the most important sections on the page, de-emphasize the less critical information, and enable users to more easily understand where to access content and functionality within an item page. The next stages in our plan are to continue refining the item view, update the edit form, and improve general navigation through ScienceBase. If you have feedback about any of these changes, or if you have ideas for additional changes, please let us know at

Fig. 1. Example of the new design. Click the image to view.
Screenshot and link to an updated ScienceBase landing page


New Capability to Upload and Download Large Files

This fall, our development team worked diligently to increase the size of files that ScienceBase can support for upload and download. The new upload functionality can be accessed by logging in and scrolling down to the Item Actions section of a ScienceBase item page. This section contains a new option, titled "Large File Uploader,” that allows users to upload files from local systems, Google Drive and Dropbox accounts (fig. 2).

Files up to 10 GB in size are now supported for upload (using the new large file upload capability). Downloads are supported at the same size but speed and performance may be dictated by the bandwidth and network properties of individual users. Files for which spatial services are generated are currently limited to approximately 2 GB. For downloads exceeding 1GB, ScienceBase will temporarily connect to an Amazon S3 download location from which a user can acquire the file without experiencing timeouts.

Our next step is to redesign the page menu to provide a more seamless experience when uploading files.

Fig. 2. Screenshot of Large File Uploader
Screenshot: Large file uploader



Data Release Requirements:
How ScienceBase Can Help

In response to the U.S. Government’s Open Data initiatives to make federally funded research products more accessible, the USGS released the Instructional Memorandum "Review and Approval of Scientific Data for Release" (IM OSQI 2015-03). This Memorandum outlines requirements for formally releasing USGS data products (and associated metadata) in compliance with U.S. Government requirements (view the document here: 

To support this effort, we have developed a workflow to help USGS scientists use ScienceBase as a resource for hosting, displaying, and searching official USGS data release products. Once data and metadata for a data release have been finalized and reviewed, scientists can easily populate a landing page in ScienceBase for their data using the existing FGDC-CSDGM or ISO metadata record that documents the content of a data release. ScienceBase also offers several features to help users in this process, including the ability to generate web services for geospatial data to increase accessibility, mint a digital object identifier (DOI) directly from an item in ScienceBase, permission-controlled access during the process of finalizing content, and assistance with configuring a metadata harvest to the USGS Science Data Catalog. ScienceBase also now offers an anonymous review option, so that publishers, such as Nature, can review access-controlled data without needing to log into ScienceBase.

USGS scientists can still upload and share data in personal ScienceBase items or communities; however, at this point official ScienceBase data releases must be approved and tagged by the ScienceBase Team. This is to ensure that they are structured properly and have the necessary information and materials to be consistent with USGS guidance. To get started, please contact the ScienceBase Team at for assistance with releasing data as an official data release product. More information about the ScienceBase data release process is available at


Did You Know?

ScienceBase can parse XML metadata records that are in FGDC-CSDGM format with the click of a button. A great way to begin filling in content for a new item page is to upload a XML metadata record and choose the option to “Load Item from FGDC Metadata”. The ScienceBase fields will be automatically populated with content from the metadata record, so you don’t have to add it all manually. 

Screenshot of the window that opens when an xml metadata record has been uploaded. It provides options to auto-populate edit form fields


Site Team