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Information to support sustainable manangement of NSW natural resources


NSW Government Website

Natural Resources Information Management Strategy
Data Management Planning Guidelines

One aspect of NRIMS Custodianship is the requirement that custodians provide a data management plan to the NRIMS Steering Committee (see Attachment 3 of the NRIMS Agreement).

Such a Data Management Plan needs to specify how each of the elements of data management (outlined in the table on the next page) shall be addressed for each NRIMS dataset managed by the custodian. A Data Management Plan does not have a set length. For the Custodian, the plan should be as detailed as is appropriate for the size and complexity of the dataset, and the needs of the users. This document provides a model plan for managing datasets under the auspices of the NRIMS Steering Committee and gives some detail on the content of the plan and the process of data management.

Customer and Stakeholder Needs
Few people troll through databases or technical reports for the fun of it. Invariably, they will be searching for information that will be supportive of their goals. Moreover, people with diametrically opposed goals will probably approach most sources of environmental and natural resources information with a view to finding information useful for their own specific purposes. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the people who are involved in evaluating, interpreting, and presenting the information to do so as clearly and unambiguously as possible - considering the constraints of time and resources. However, the final responsibility for using and presenting data belongs with the client and not the data provider.

The end of the long process of collection, evaluation, and interpretation of data and information is its presentation in a cohesive manner so that others can, not only understand the conclusions as stated, but also make interpretative evaluations of their own.

Information holdings must contain sufficient detail so that clients - even years later - can understand how the results flow from the raw data, without having to make interpretations or, worse still, investigations of their own. Unless this objective is achieved, the custodian has not done their job properly.

Data management involves developing a number of systematic processes and protocols that are designed to provide a framework for providing quality information with a high degree of credibility.

When read in conjunction with the background document Guiding principles for data management, the following data management plan provides a model for managing data held in custody under the Natural Resources Information Management Strategy. It is hoped that this model plan will assist data custodians in preparing specific plans for their own datasets.

Management Plan for the..................................... Dataset*


Determine customers' needs for the dataset, including 'Whole of Government' aspects.



Review the availability of standards relevant to the dataset, and adopt a policy concerning their use.



Implement data documentation, and analysis documentation procedures.



Implement and document secure data collection and storage procedures



Maintain a master metadata record for the dataset, including ANZLIC core elements for directory use and elements to accompany data transfer (see NSW Natural Resource Metadata Policy). Ensure that this record is accurate, complete and current, and includes useful data quality information.



Ensure that the dataset's record in the whole-of-government metadata directory is kept up-to-date.



Review dataset for issues of quality and integrity (in addition to the attached Quality Assurance Checklist, use Appendix 2: Metadata Elements Required for Data Transfer of the NSW Natural Resource Metadata Policy). Identify any remediation tasks required and add them to this plan.



Develop an access policy for the dataset, covering pricing, privacy, copyright and licensing conditions. Licensing conditions should cover publication, copying, transferring and on-selling of data and any copyright, acknowledgment, disclaimer or other notice required to accompany publication.



Implement and document secure data distribution and transmission protocols and systems, using agreed whole-of-government frameworks wherever possible.



Ensure that when data are transferred to users, appropriate documentation is supplied, including licence conditions and metadata for data transfer as detailed in the NSW Natural Resource Metadata Policy.



Record any feedback on the dataset received from data users and track resulting actions.



Provide a written report to NRIMS on all relevant aspects of the above elements of management of the dataset.



*Developed to implement custodian responsibilities as agreed in the NRIMS Custodian Agreement signed on ....................... .

Quality Assurance Checklist

1. Data and supporting systems are Year 2000 compliant.
2. Attribute data types are appropriate to their contents; eg. numeric attributes are stored in numeric, not character, fields
3. Attribute values are all within valid ranges
4. Capitalisation, abbreviation, etc, of text attributes (eg. place names) are consistent throughout the dataset
5. Temporary attributes used only in construction of the dataset have been removed
6. Features all have 'reasonable' locations (eg. all soil samples occur on land)
7. All feature or cell/pixel attributes contain values (or documentation explains why some values are null, zero or blank)
The following point applies only to raster data:
8. If valid data do not cover the whole image/raster, then all cells/pixels outside the data area contain a single value which is outside the range used by the valid data