skip to content
Cofrin Center for Biodiversity


The library master archive consists of CDs and DVDs on shelves located in the Biodiversity Center GIS Lab (MAC Hall - Room 238). About half of the discs are filed according to a system of topic categories. Which discs land in this part of the archive is based on the judgment of the staff. Landsat scenes, elevation models and climate data are examples of datasets filed by category.

Topic Categories
"ISO 19115 - Geographic information - Metadata" is a standard for categorizing spatial data published by the International Organization for Standardization. We borrowed the coding scheme for use in our library. See the table below.

Code Name & Description Examples
001 Farming - rearing of animals and/or cultivation of plants agriculture, irrigation, aquaculture, plantations, herding, pests and diseases affecting crops and livestock
002 Biota - flora and/or fauna in natural environment wildlife, vegetation, biological sciences, ecology, wilderness, sea life, wetlands, habitat, biological resources
003 Boundaries - legal land descriptions political and administrative boundaries, governmental units, marine boundaries, voting districts, school districts, international boundaries
004 Climatology, Meteorology, Atmosphere - processes and phenomena of the atmosphere cloud cover, weather, climate, atmospheric conditions, climate change, precipitation
005 Economy - economic activities, conditions, and employment production, labor, revenue, business, commerce, industry, tourism and ecotourism, forestry, fisheries, commercial or subsistence hunting, exploration and exploitation of resources such as minerals, oil and gas
006 Elevation - height above or below seal level altitude, bathymetry, digital elevation models, slope, derived products, DEMs, TINs
007 Environment - environmental resources, protection and conservation environmental pollution, waste storage and treatment, environmental impact assessment, monitoring environmental risk, nature reserves, landscape, water quality, air quality, environmental modeling
008 Geoscientific Information - information pertaining to earth sciences geophysical features and processes, geology, minerals, sciences dealing with the composition, structure and origin of the earth?s rocks, risks of earthquakes, volcanic activity, landslides, gravity information, soils, permafrost, hydrogeology, groundwater, erosion
009 Health - health, health services, human ecology, and safety disease and illness, factors affecting health, hygiene, substance abuse, mental and physical health, health services, health care providers, public health
010 Imagery, Base Maps, Earth Cover - base maps land/earth cover, topographic maps, imagery, unclassified images, annotations, digital ortho imagery
011 Intelligence, Military - military bases, structures, activities barracks, training grounds, military transportation, information collection
012 Inland Waters - inland water features, drainage systems and characteristics rivers and glaciers, slat lakes, water utilization plans, dams, currents, floods and flood hazards, water quality, hydrographic charts, watersheds, wetlands, hydrography
013 Location - positional information and services addresses, geodetic networks, geodetic control points, postal zones and services, place names, geographic names
014 Oceans - features and characteristics of salt water bodies (excluding inland waters) tides, tidal waves, coastal information, reefs, maritime, outer continental shelf submerged lands, shoreline
015 Planning, Cadastre - information used for appropriate actions for future use of the land land use maps, zoning maps, cadastral surveys, land ownership, parcels, easements, tax maps, federal land ownership status, public land conveyance records
016 Society - characteristics of society and culture settlements, housing, anthropology, archaeology, education, traditional beliefs, manners and customs, demographic data, tourism, recreational areas and activities, parks, recreational trails, historical sites, cultural resources, social impact assessments, crime and justice, law enforcement, census information, immigration, ethnicity
017 Structure - man-made construction buildings, museums, churches, factories, housing, monuments, shops, towers, building footprints, architectural and structural plans
018 Transportation - means and aids for conveying persons and/or goods roads, airports/airstrips, shipping routes, tunnels nautical charts, vehicle or vessel location, aeronautical charts, railways
019 Utilities, Communication - energy, water and waste systems and communications infrastructure and services hydroelectricity, geothermal, solar and nuclear sources of energy, water purification and distribution, sewage collection and disposal, electricity and gas distribution, data communication, telecommunication, radio, communication networks

Filebox Names
Our primary tool for making data disks findable in the archive is the filebox name:

  • Filebox names begin with a two-character prefix that identifies the topic category for the datasets stored there. The prefixes/topic categories are defined by the ISO standard discussed above.
  • The prefix is followed by some descriptive text that narrows the content down to a specific data type or government program.
  • Filebox names end with "_". Underscores are not used anywhere else in the naming system.
  • New fileboxes are created as needed.
  • CamelCase is used when filebox names are written.
Examples of filebox names in the topic category part of the archive include:
  • "04xNDBCxStdMetData_" (meteorological data from the National Data Buoy Center)
  • "07xSoilArsenicWisconsin2011_"
  • "10xLANDSATxRS2p022r048_" (Landsat 4, 5 and 7 scenes for path 22 row 48)

Data Folder Names
The discs that the datsets are stored on are organized by data folder name:

  • Data folder names consist of the filebox name plus a short modifier. That means they have an underscore somewhere in the middle.
  • On the data discs, the data folder names are written in CamelCase.
  • A data folder contains one or more databases.
  • New datafolders are created as needed.

Geodata Drive
Retrieving specific items from the master archive requires the presence of a Biodiversity Center staff person and is a major hassle for us and for users. For everyone's convenience, we've copied a large subset of our library holdings to a shared drive (called Geodata) on the University network. Users are strongly encouraged to check the Geodata Drive first when they've identified a need for a particular spatial database.
The geodata drive employs the same system of filebox names and data folder names described above for the library master archive. Windows Explorer and/or ArcCatalog are the principal tools for finding individual databases and better-than-average file management skill is essential.
A database delineating Bailey Ecological Units would be a logical candidate for filing by topic so let's move to that part of the Geodata folder tree. The screen shot below shows how one might work through the various levels of folder names to track down the target database.