From Federation of Earth Science Information Partners
Welcome to the Documentation Cluster
Ted Habermann, HDF Group and Anna Milan, NOAA
ESIP Vision
Figure 1

We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native language. Language is not simply a reporting device for experience but a defining framework for it.” Benjamin Lee Whorf

About Us

While Eskimos (and people that live in Colorado) have many words for what others call snow, and surfers have many words for what others call waves, ESIP members have many words for documentation. The goal of the Documentation Cluster is to improve understanding, utilization and integration of all of the dialects shown in Figure 1 and others used in the global environmental community. Equally important, we will work in the spaces between these dialects to build understanding from the similarities and differences between them.

A dialect is a "variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group". In the context of data sharing in ESIP, the ways that different groups document their data and products (i.e. metadata standards) are great examples of dialects. They are varieties of the over-arching language of documentation that are used by particular groups in ESIP and other partners in the global environmental community. Figure 1 illustrates this idea with a few commonly used dialects.

The ESIP Community is made up of scientists and informatics experts from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds. They come together at ESIP because they realize that they share common needs and hope that they can find others that can help them address those needs. For example, many ESIP members make observations and process them into datasets and products or run models that "predict" data in the past, present, or future. We all want to share those products with a variety of users and, more importantly, we want to make sure those users can discover, use, and understand those products.

The Documentation Cluster is an evolution of the original CF Cluster that was started by Rob Raskin and focused on the Climate-Forecast Conventions that are commonly used by netCDF and related tools. The CF Conventions are an important metadata dialect used by a number of ESIP members and their partners. The Documentation Cluster helps us keep in mind that the CF Conventions are only one of many dialects used by different ESIP groups.


Meeting Agenda and Notes for 2016

  • Upcoming:
  • Feb - EMMA - Anna Milan
  • Mar - TBD
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July - summer meeting
  • Aug
  • Sept
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
  • Completed:
  • Jan 20

Webex/Telecon Instructions:

1. Go to
2. Click the "Meeting Center" tab
3. Select "Documentation Cluster Monthly Call"
4. If a password is required, enter the Meeting Password: 23138372
5. You can then choose to use your computer to join the audio portion of the meeting, or you can use your phone to dial in.
  • Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada): 1-877-668-4493
  • Attendee access code/Meeting Password: 231 383 72

Previous Meeting Agendas and Notes:

Get Involved

All meetings are conducted via ESIP Webex (see left-hand side of this page).
  • Share!
  • We want to know about your documentation ideas, solutions and challenges.

  • Monthly Meeting
  • Our meeting will be on Mon or Thurs on the 4th week of each month.
  • Scheduling poll is open until Feb 12. | Doodle Poll

  • Email List

  • Biannual ESIP Meeting:
  • The next ESIP Summer Meeting will be held during July 19-22, 2016 in Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • The most recent ESIP Winter Meeting was held during January 6-8, 2016 in Washington, D.C.
  • TBA links to previous sessions


Resources (and Other Stuff)