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Project specific best practices and recommendations are listed under "§ Projects"

Questions, feedback?  Contact or the respective chief editor(s) for your project data team item type catalogue (version 2020-07-24)

(1) Assigning an item type

An item is a general term for describing platforms, devices or sensors.  Platforms generally carries 1-n devices which in turn may also have their own (sub)devices.

Every item must be assigned to a type.   For example the platform "Polarstern" is an item of type "Vessel" whereas the "TM_Ice_Corer_2 and UAF_TM_Ice_Corer_3" is an item of type "Corer".  A full list of available item types (with more or less helpful descriptions) can be found here.

While creating a new item, you need to consider whether it should be tagged to a classical platform type (e.g. Vessel, Station, Vehicle, etc) or not.  When in doubt, please send a support request to or consult directly with a chief editor assigned to your project.

(2) Short name and URN syntax

You will be requested to assign a short name for all items you want to create.  Items are uniquely identified via a local URN  identifier (URN means Uniform Resource Locator) using the item type and individual short name syntax. Example: vessel:ms_hel:fb_740602 points to the ferrybox on MS Helgoland.   

Occasionally devices are not assigned to a specific parental item. Then it is a free-floating item and its URN syntax is derived from the device type. Example: ctd:ctd_awi_1413 (

While creating a short name for your device, keep in mind that the short names cannot be modified once created because they are in-use within INGEST and STORAGE (for setting the path to data files for a particular item).  Be also aware that you cannot create items with the same short name under one parent item and avoid capital letters.

If there is the very rare occasion you need to alter a short name (and if you like to incur the wrath of every data supporter), please contact

(3) Item state

Newly created items are assigned the state "Construction" and can be seen by the owner (you) exclusively.

Contact roles of a deviceDShip connector

(4) Using "Contacts" to set editorial rights, item affiliation, etc.

The "Contact" tab supports different roles:

  1. Data Provider – Data Provider for Data Transmission and Data Formatting
  2. Data Scientist – Party predominantly responsible for data handling
  3. Device Contact – Party who can be contacted for acquiring knowledge about or acquisition of the resource
  4. dship connector – The Contact “polarstern dship” with role “dship connector” must be assigned to all items to be imported in DSHIP during a given campaign (lower figure).
  5. Editor – Party who reviewed or modified the resource to improve the content
  6. Engineer in Charge – Party responsible for operating services of the resource
  7. Owner – Party that owns the resource
  8. Principle Investigator – Key party responsible for gathering information and conducting research

Make sure the following contacts have been at least assigned to your item:

  1. Editor:  allowed to modify and delete items
  2. Affiliation: describes the institutional affiliation of an item.  If your institute is not listed yes, please contact

In addition to entering the roles "editor" and "affiliation" of an item, we advise you to also enter the principal investigator.  This is particular relevant as metadata for our data services. As you can see in the figure some roles are inherited from the parental device.

If in doubt, please send a support request to or consult directly with a chief editor assigned to your project.

example json of the action created above:

(5) Assigning "Action" information

In order to add certain "Actions" to the devices, several ways are available:

  • in case the device is located on one of the large and middle-sized german research vessels (Polarstern, Sonne, Metero, Alkor, Heincke, and Poseidon) you could use the autocompletion functionality (strongly recommended). Simply type the first three characters of the station label as listed in PANGAEA's expedition catalogue to comfortably get the metadata fields under "Action" filled out for you and this way avoiding possible typos,
  • if the autocompletion feature does not apply to your devices you could use to insert the mandatory information, or
  • you could use the Rest-API ( to insert the information, e.g. via R, python, or any other tool of choice.

Labelreasonable, coherent, and unique name of the eventMandatory
Event Typesee table belowMandatory
Frompoint in time when the event startedMandatory
Topoint in time when the event endedMandatory
Descriptiondetailled description of the event, its circumstances, background, etc.Optional
Latitudeaka N or SOptional
Longitudeaka E or WOptional
Elevationapplies to depth too, below water surfaces rather negative integers, else positive integersOptional

Some of the assigned Actions automatically create a new version of the device (including a handle, such as which is mandatory to find the ingested data sets in the data web service ( if the device is reassigned.

Event TypeIDDescription
Calibration15The item was recalibrated, the respective Calibration certificates and/or associated documents should be supplied via the Resources tab in the upper navigation banner.
Commissioned215This Event Type applies to large-scale platforms, such as land-based stations, research vessels, and aircrafts. It describes the beginning of the operational use of this device.
Decommissioned216This Event Type applies to large-scale platforms, such as land-based stations, research vessels, and aircrafts. It describes the end of the operational use of this device.

A device is deployed, means it is in operational use. Deployment applies to small-scale vehicles and ship-operated devices, such as CTD rosettes, buoys, etc..

Maintenance16The Event Type Maintenance describes functional checks, servicing, repairing or replacing of parts. The device might still be operational, but the device's measurements might be affected by means of maintenance.
Mission182A Mission refers to the device's operation within a defined range of time and purpose.
Mount25The device installed/attached to a parental device. The Event Type Mount mostly applies to ship- and airborne sensors.
Partial Failure200The Event Type Partial Failure should be set if the device's functionality somehow is restricted or limited.
Recovery188When a device is retrieved from water or ice the Event Type Recovery should be set. Then it is no longer operational. This usually applies to buoys or moorings.
Total Failure201The Event Type Total Failure denominates the total loss of functionality of the respective device. Any re-use is foreclosed.
Unmount26The device is extracted from a parental device. The Event Type Unmount mostly applies to ship- and airborne sensors.
Information50The description has a bunch of redundancy: Describes issues associated with this item relevant for its operation. Includes failure and maintenance information.

The Event Type Configuration depicts a change in the device's setup, e.g. something new has been mounted, a software update was conducted, etc..

(6) Citing sensors in PANGAEA

When inserting an action to an item, users may request the creation of an individual persistent identifier for the item which automatically allows user to cite the item accordingly (citation syntax included). The PID (along with the citation) can thus be used in PANGAEA as link to a device/platform used in a particular event. In the PANGAEA example the PID of type handle generated by SENSOR hdl:10013/sensor.664525cf-45b9-4969-bb88-91a1c5e97a5b is used to describe the payload of an AUV during a specific event/station on board of RV Merian.

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