EDI led a session at the 2017 ESIP Summer meeting to get community feedback about development of a code repository for information managers. Those comments were refactored in to a Request For Comments (RFC) for establishment of a code registry, rather than a repository, that was sent to the participants of the ESIP working group along with EDI’s email list of environmental information managers. The RFC suggested implementing the data registry as a Portal in Ontosoft, a “software commons” that supports software documentation and discovery through a multi-faceted search (http://www.ontosoft.org/). The information management code itself would reside in Github or other versioning system. The RFC also suggested that EDI sponsor a hackathon to kick-off population of the IM Code Registry.
The response to the RFC was very positive, particularly with respect to the proposed hackathon and use of the Ontosoft architecture and ontology. Issues raised, however, included the scope of the registry. Should it include code for developing web pages and processing ‘omics data, for instance? Neither task is purely one for ‘environmental data information management’, yet many environmental information managers may also develop web pages and have responsibilities involving genomics data. Others commented on the need to somehow evaluate code before it is released in the registry. Should the code be tested to see if it does what it purports to do, or is submission of metadata and examples with the code sufficient? The RFC suggested that a committee be established to guide registry development, and it is anticipated that this committee will establish guidelines to address these concerns based on future community feedback as the registry evolves.
A hackathon to kick-off population of the IM Code Registry was hosted by EDI at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, June 12-14, to collaboratively design and develop software supporting the activities of information managers and scientists working with environmental data.