Finding Data: The CEDA Data Catalogue

There are thousands of datasets held in the CEDA archives and it can be difficult to find the data most suited to your requirements. To help with this, CEDA's Data Catalogue allows users to easily find data matching their search terms and other related data.

Searching for data

The data catalogue contains large numbers of datasets and data collections as well as records covering background information about projects, instruments, locations and algorithms used in data production. We've aimed to keep the catalogue as intuitive as possible to aid getting to relevant data as quickly as possible.

You can access the full catalogue here:

On the front page you'll see a simple search box which will carry out a free-text search across the thousands of datasets and other record types in our catalogue:

On the same page, you can view special record selections where a beacon pop up bar gives you the option to search for public datasets, registered CEDA user datasets, restricted datasets, Datasets with a DOI, instrument records, projects, collections and platforms etc.

What happens when I search?

When you search the CEDA Catalogue, it will search against the title, abstract, keywords, identifiers and, for Datasets, variables recorded across all the records types. The records can then be filtered by the record type to help refine the searches.

A summary of matching records will be displayed with links to the full catalogue entry which are ordered according to relevance ranking. These can also be re-ordered using the "sort by" option to list the records alphabetically if desired.

Search Results, Refining Your Search and Exploring Connections

Once you have submitted your search text you will be presented with a list of returned items in our catalogue, such as shown in the example below which then provide a range of options to help refine your search or to explore connections between records:

From this view you can use a range of search facets on the left hand side to refine your search in various ways including: record type, geographic area, data temporal range, access type, publication/DOI date and limit selections to DOied resource, non-geographic data and latest versions of datasets.

Further details of each search option are available by hovering over the blue 'i' for more information in a tooltip and also further down this help page. 

Searching via related records

Next to each returned record in the catalogue search result you will see a 'Related records' button:

Clicking on this will take you through to the record in question and to a dedicated search interface related specifically to records connected to that record... such as in the following example for the FAAM dataset collection. These related records are ones which have been directly connected to the selected record and so give more contextual search. Here you can further refine your search within just these related records. To get back to the main search you can use the red backward arrow.

Browsing from one record to another

If you wish to explore more in depth then you can click through to record using the More Info button. From there you can use the 'related records' button down the page to see the various record types the record is connected to in the catalogue. For example, a Dataset Collection may consist of many Datasets which can both be related to a particular Project. Dataset pages may also show connections between various versions of a dataset.

Catalogue structure - what the records mean 

(searching by the 'Record Type' facet)

Underpinning CEDA's data catalogue are some key concepts that are useful to understand. The catalogue is centred on the following key types of record:

  • Dataset - these records describe and link to the actual data in our archive. They also provide spatial and temporal information, access and usage information and link to background information on why and how the data were collected. NOTE. this overall category includes both geographic and non-geographic datasets (such as lab data, survey data).
  • Dataset Collection - a collection of Datasets that share some common purpose, theme or association. These collections link to one or more Dataset records.
  • Project - background information about a project, program or other major activity that provides the purpose for producing the data. Navigate from this record to the related Dataset record(s) (via the relevant Dataset Collection) to access the data.
  • Instrument - describes an instrument that is used to collect data via observations. Follow the link to the associated Dataset records to access the relevant data.
  • Platform- describes a platform (e.g. sites, stations, aircraft) on which instruments were mounted/located during the data collected during a project. Follow the link to the associated Dataset records to access the relevant data.
  • Computation - describes computational stages in producing data - e.g. models, processing algorithms, used to produce data such as NWP and climate model output and Earth Observation higher level processed products. Follow the link to the associated Dataset records to access the relevant data.

Non-Geographic Datasets

Not all datasets within the CEDA archive are geographically related and include data from laboratories (e.g. cloud chambers, sample analysis), wind tunnels and surveys. To help find such datasets first ensure the geographic bounding box selections are clear and the record selection is either reset or has the 'Datasets' record type selected, then select the 'Non-Geographic Datasets' search option. 

Geographic Searches

With the majority of data being geographical the 'Bounding box' search options allow for specific areas around the world to be selected to find data which either intersects with (i.e. at least overlaps partially) or is entirely within the selected region.

These searches are based on a -180 to +180 longitude grid, i.e. East and West of the Greenwich meridian... this may differ from how the data are actually stored within the files themselves, but for consistency of cataloging these have all been recorded in the catalogue on this standard grid.

Many datasets are given as having global coverage and will appear within search results with the 'intersects with' option, but will not appear with the 'within' option selected from the drop down box.

At this stage the actual bounding boxes for the returned results are not given on a map display together, but each dataset record (and platform records too) will show the geographic bounding box both graphically and as text on the individual record pages.

Temporal searches

There are two ways to limit your searches bases on date. The first related to the data themselves. Here specifying either or both a data 'from' or 'to' date will allow datasets with data that fall within the period to returned. Selecting 'entire range' here will result in finding datasets with data temporal ranges that cover the entire period (including datasets that may start and/or end before/after the period selected).

The second option allows for searches for when datasets either by their date of publication or when they were ascribed DOIs. Though these options may not be the most useful for most users these are helpful for data providers and other interested parties wishing to find out more about the overall publication of data through CEDA.

Access Type

Within the CEDA Archive there are three broad categories of how data access is controlled. The most open are those under the Public access type - these do not require registration of logging in to access the resource. 'Registered' are for those datasets that require a user to register as a CEDA user - mainly to provide more detailed user demographics on dataset usage. Finally, the 'Restricted' datasets are those that have further restrictions on access and thus require specific applications for access to be submitted.

NOTE: these access types are not the same as the permitted use for the data. For details on what can and can't be done with specific data please refer to the licence information for the dataset in quesion.

Other NERC Data

You can search for data held in any of the NERC data centres through the central NERC Data Catalogue Service:

The NERC DCS covers data from us and the following NERC data centres:

Did this answer your question? Thanks for the feedback There was a problem submitting your feedback. Please try again later.

Still need help? Contact Us Contact Us