1. NARA should work with the scientific community and potential sources of scientific data to develop adaptable performance criteria for data formats and media. The goal would be to meet NARA 's basic need to ensure long-term usability while also enabling accession of data, such as images and structures, that cannot be accommodated by NARA's current restrictive standards.

  2. NARA should pursue collaborations with other agencies to ensure data preservation and accessibility in a spirit of partnership, rather than by promulgating additional rules.

  3. NARA's current priorities, which emphasize scientific data that are of historical interest, are generally adequate for laboratory sciences data, but scientific data sets should not be immediately excluded from consideration if they are of interest to only the scientific community.

  4. With scientific data, where detailed knowledge about the data is often a key component of usefulness, NARA should explore and encourage distributed, as opposed to centralized, record holdings.

  5. Serving the scientific community requires new or enhanced capabilities to provide rapid access to data.

  6. The ability to serve the scientific community requires increasing the amount of scientific and technological expertise within NARA.

  7. The panel endorses the comprehensive recommendations made by the National Academy of Public Administration in the 1991 report, The Archives of the Future: Archival Strategies for the Treatment of Electronic Databases. The executive summary of the NAPA report contains 11 recommendations pertinent to scientific data that are presented in Appendix B of this volume.


The Physics, Chemistry, and Materials Sciences Data Panel gratefully acknowledges the contributions of many individuals from the federal agencies, as well as of Paul Uhlir and Scott Weidman of the National Research Council staff, to the preparation of this report. At the panel's first meeting, in July 1993, it benefited from presentations by and detailed discussions with Robert Billingsley, Defense Technical Information Center; Mark Conrad of NARA; Suzanne Leech, Bionetics, Inc.; and Patricia Schuette, Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory. In addition, Victoria McLane of Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the staff of the National Archives and Records Administration and the National Research Council, provided substantial amounts of printed material for the panel's consideration and discussion. At its second meeting, in November 1993, the panel again benefited from a useful discussion with Mark Conrad of NARA and was given a comprehensive overview of the Defense Nuclear Agency's holdings of data from nuclear weapons tests by Donald Alderson of the Department of Defense Nuclear Information Analysis Center. Subsequently, Frank Biggs of Sandia National Laboratory provided written material on Department of Energy holdings that complement those described by Alderson.


Billingsley, Robert. 1993. “Numeric Data and Archiving at DTIC” (briefing notes), Defense Technical Information Center, Alexandria, Va., July 8.

Brookhaven National Laboratory. (undated). “National Nuclear Data Center Products and Services,” pamphlet, Upton, N.Y.

Bundy, Dean. 1993. Written briefing presented to the Space Sciences Data Panel of the Committee for the Long-term Retention of Selected Scientific and Technical Records of the Federal Government, Sept. 21, on archiving experience at the Naval Research Laboratory.

Burrows, Thomas W. 1990. “The Evaluated Nuclear Structure Data File: Philosophy, Content, and Uses,” Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A286, pp. 595-600.

Chase, M.W., Jr., et al. 1985. “JANAF Thermochemical Tables, Third Edition,” J. Phys. Chem. Ref., vol. 14, suppl. 1.

Conrad, Mark. 1993. Listings of three record groups from the National Archives and Records Administration (Records of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 1830-1974, record group 167; Records of the Atomic Energy Commission, 1942-1975, record group 326; and General Records of the Department of Energy, 1858-1990, record group 434), July 19.

Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC). 1993. Directory of the Department of Defense Information Analysis Centers, Alexandria, Va., August.

Haas, J.K., H.W. Samuels, and B.T. Simmons. 1985. Appraising the Records of Modern Science and Technology: A Guide, Society of American Archivists, Chicago, Ill.

Hamner, Richard M. 1992. Microgravity Archive Study and Implementation Plan (final report for phase I of the Marshall Space Flight Center tasks) , NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

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