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The mission of the National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program (NGGDPP) is to preserve and provide access to geoscientific samples and data to improve the breadth of information that can be used to inform science and decision making now and in the future.

Geologists discuss big picture geology of Lake Clark National Park
USGS research geologists discuss geology in their project area in and around Lake Clark National Park (Credit: Erin Todd, USGS. Public domain.)

Geoscientific research has been conducted in the United States since the birth of the Nation. Many state geological surveys were initiated decades before Congress created the U.S. Geological Survey in 1879. Geoscientific observations, specimens, reports, data, and other documents were acquired in analog (paper, physical media) format for many years. Many of these resources cannot be reacquired because access to sampling localities is no longer possible, landscape changes and anthropogenic modifications mar original observations, and it may be prohibitively expensive to recollect massive collections acquired during decades of sampling campaigns (example, immense USGS fossil collections, including millions of specimens, housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History). The geoscientific collections scattered across the Nation can continue to inform science because geologic conditions (for example, rock strata) have not significantly, if at all, changed since acquisition.   

The National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program (NGGDPP) supports and fosters the archival of geological, geophysical, and engineering data, maps, samples, and other physical specimens by providing technical and financial assistance to state geological surveys and U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) bureaus. The NGGDPP fosters communities of practice for sharing information and developing recommendations for preserving and exposing scientific assets available for research. The NGGDPP supports ReSciColl (Registry of Scientific Collections), formerly National Digital Catalog, which resides on the USGS ScienceBase data management infrastructure, for NGGDPP grant recipients to catalog scientific documents, samples, photographs, data, and other materials to inform the public and researchers of the existence and availability of these resources. ReSciColl serves as a common platform for aggregating information in a standardized format describing geoscientific assets managed by separate state geological organizations and DOI bureaus. The NGGDPP supports multidisciplinary research by advancing the sharing of geoscientific metadata describing data and physical materials to promote information discovery, access, interoperability, and reuse. The evolving catalog of these repository holdings is providing an extensive source of geoscience data and materials to serve national needs.