Data integration and discovery in theory, in practice, and in yet-unrealised potential

Ms Sharon Tickell1

1CSIRO, St Lucia, Australia


When the eReefs platform launched publicly in early 2016, it included a custom API layer for facilitating access to the several thousand datasets that had been contributed to the platform by half a dozen different data providers.  This permitted not only browsing of data layers and text-based search dataset descriptions, but also with a demonstration of how linked-data concepts could assist researchers to identify datasets that could be sensibly used together, regardless of the origin or description of that dataset.

Four years later in 2020, to complement the launch of the next major version of the eReefs Data Broker, I’d like to review how that data linkage has worked out in practice, where the idea and the implementations of that idea are headed next, and how it might be applied in a world that now includes and Google Dataset Search.


Sharon is a software engineer who currently leads the Coastal Informatics team in CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere.  She was a developer and system administrator for the CSIRO contributions to the original eReefs project, has maintained the user-facing parts of eReefs since that project ended, and was a contributor and project manager for the new version of the eReefs data broker.


AeRO is the industry association focused on eResearch in Australasia. We play a critical coordination role for our members, who are actively transforming research via Information Technology. Organisations join AeRO to advance their own capabilities and services, to collaborate and to network with peers. AeRO believes researchers and the sector significantly benefit from greater communication, coordination and sharing among the increasingly different and evolving service providers.