• A New Attempt to Establish the International Radiocarbon Soils Database (IRSDB)

      Becker-Heidmann, Peter; Heidmann, Pascal (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      Twenty years after the first International Radiocarbon Database Workshop, and 13 yr after the setup of a preliminary structure for a worldwide database on 14C dates of soils, sound reasons and excuses for not establishing a real and globally accessible database have diminished. Climate change itself is widely accepted as reality now, and the strong demand of the modeling community for reliable data of the carbon pool--especially in soils--has been maintained. With the steadily increasing capacity of 14C dating facilities, these data can be and are produced. Nevertheless, they still cannot be accessed easily and equally enough. Now, decreased costs of hardware and recent developments of the internet enable the IRSDB to be implemented, in a joint effort. As a seed, a test server has been set up, with open-source software, housing the database in alpha-stage, a web interface, and a community portal. Thus, the development of the design as well as the data input of the database is done in close collaboration of the users of the database, the laboratories, soil scientists, archaeologists, modelers, other scientists, and interested laypersons. In order to guarantee the longtime independence of the availability and usability of the database from vendors or changing standards, only widely used open-source software and open standards are used. Therefore, the development of plug-ins for data input from laboratory databases or output to different required formats as well as interfaces to GIS and other software is possible. A version control system takes care of the integrity of the data.