FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact David Applegate: (703) 379-2480
August 7, 1996 E-mail:

AGI Holds Workshop on Geoscience Data Preservation

ALEXANDRIA, VA -- The American Geological Institute (AGI) brought together geoscientists from across the nation on July 28 to discuss ways to broaden support for efforts to preserve billions of dollars' worth of geoscience data. The workshop participants focused on a number of data types, including seismic data, drill core and well cuttings, paleontological collections, and environmental data all of which are in danger of being lost as major oil and gas companies continue to shift their operations away from domestic production. Tight budget constraints also threaten data stored at universities and federal repositories. Because so much of this information is spatial, the workshop also addressed the geoscience community's concerns over the future quality and availability of topographic maps.
The workshop laid the groundwork for the drafting of an AGI policy paper that will address the issue of data preservation. The following day, a series of meetings between the workshop participants and national policy makers took place at federal agencies and congressional offices in order to gather support for AGI's efforts to develop a National Geoscience Data Repository System (NGDRS).
The data are readily applicable to many areas of applied and basic research in energy and mineral resources, engineering hydrology, mapping, natural hazards mitigation, paleontology, and soil resources. The NGDRS is intended to capture these data and transfer them to public-domain repositories. The Geotrek online cataloging system, now being developed, would also improve access to these and other data in the public domain.
The project has been funded jointly by industry and the Department of Energy's Fossil Energy R&D program. The president's fiscal year 1997 budget request included $1 million for geoscience data preservation, but the House-passed spending bill made large cuts to the account where that funding is located. The Senate Appropriations Committee restored the funding but Senate floor action and a conference between the House and Senate have yet to take place.
The American Geological Institute is a nonprofit federation of 29 geoscientific and professional associations that represent more than 80,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. In addition, 115 colleges and universities are AGI Academic Associates, and 30 private companies are AGI Corporate Members. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the earth-science profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in mankind's use of resources and interaction with the environment.

To receive additional information on the workshop or the National Geoscience Data Repository System, contact Dr. David Applegate, Director of Government Affairs, American Geological Institute, 4220 King Street, Alexandria, Va. 22302-1502. Phone: (703)379-2480; fax: (703)379-7563; e-mail:

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