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  • World Data Centers

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    Description of World Data Centers

    World Data Centers conduct international exchange of geophysical observations in accordance with the principles set forth by the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). They were established in 1957 by the International Geophysical Year Committee (CSAGI) as part of the fundamental international planning for the IGY program to collect data from the numerous and widespread IGY observational programs and to make such data readily accessible to interested scientists and scholars for an indefinite period of time. WDC-A was established in the U.S.A.; WDC-B, in the U.S.S.R.; and WDCC, in Western Europe, Australia, and Japan. This new system for exchanging geophysical data was found to be very effective, and the operations of the World Data Centers were extended by ICSU on a continuing basis to other international programs; the WDC's were under the supervision of the Comite International de Geophysique (CIG) for the period 1960 to 1967 and are now supervised by the ICSU Panel on World Data Centres.

    The current plans for continued international exchange of geophysical data through the World Data Centers are set forth in the Third Consolidated Guide to International Data Exchange through the World Data Centres, issued by the ICSU Panel on World Data Centres, December 1973. These plans are broadly similar to those adopted under ICSU auspices for the IGY and subsequent international programs.

    Functions and Responsibilities of WDC's

    The World Data Centers collect data and publications for the following disciplines: Glaciology; Meteorology; Oceanography; Rockets and Satellites; Solar-Terrestrial Physics disciplines (Solar and Interplanetary Phenomena, Ionospheric Phenomena, Flare Associated Events, Geomagnetic Phenomena, Aurora, Cosmic Rays, Airglow); Solid-Earth Geophysics disciplines (Seismology, Tsunamis, Marine Geology and Geophysics, Gravimetry, Earth Tides, Recent Movements of the Earth's Crust, Rotation of the Earth, Magnetic Measurements, Paleomagnetism and Archeomagnetism, Volcanology, Geothermics). In planning for the various scientific programs, decisions on data exchange were made by the scientific community through the international scientific unions and committees. In each discipline the specialists themselves determined the nature and form of data exchange, based on their needs as research workers. Thus the type and amount of data in the WDC's differ from discipline to discipline.

    The objects of establishing several World Data Centers for collecting observational data were: (1) to insure against loss of data by the catastrophic destruction of a single center, (2) to meet the geographical convenience of, and provide easy communication for, workers in different parts of the world. Each WDC is responsible for: (1) endeavoring to collect a complete set of data in the field or discipline for which it is responsible, (2) safekeeping of the incoming data, (3) correct copying and reproduction of data, maintaining adequate standards of clarity and durability, (4) supplying copies to other WDC's of data not received directly, (5) preparation of catalogs of all data in its charge, and (6) making data in the WDC's available to the scientific community. The WDC's conduct their operation at no expense to ICSU or to the ICSU family of unions and committees.

    World Data Center A

    World Data Center A, for which the National Academy of Sciences through the Geophysics Research Board and its Committee on Data Interchange and Data Centers has over-all responsibility, consists of the WDC-A Coordination Office and seven subcenters at scientific institutions in various parts of the United States. The GRB periodically reviews the activities of WDC-A and has conducted several studies on the effectiveness of the WDC system. As a result of these reviews and studies some of the subcenters of WDC-A have been relocated so that they could more effectively serve the scientific community. The addresses of the WDC-A subcenters and Coordination Office are given inside the front cover.

    The data received by WDC-A have been made available to the scientific community in various ways: (1) reports containing data and results of experiments have been compiled, published, and widely distributed; (2) synoptic type data on cards, microfilm, or tables are available for use at the subcenters and for loan to scientists; (3) copies of data and reports are provided upon request.

    Data Report Series

    This is one in a series of data and information publications issued by World Data Center A for Solid Earth Geophysics. Future numbers will be printed at irregular intervals as a convenient method of making available in printed form those data sets for which there is a potential widespread interest. The World Data Center endeavors to support with publication services and data-exchange activities international programs in geophysics from its inception in the International Geophysical Year (1957-58) to the present International Geodynamics Project. The World Data Center A for Solid Earth Geophysics is maintained by the National Geophysical and Solar-Terrestrial Data Center (NGSDC) of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Environmental Data and Information Service (EDIS)


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