Service Entry Resource Format (SERF) Standard
This document defines the Service Entry Resource Format (SERF) content metadata, a collection of attributes for describing services related to global change and Earth science data. From its conception in the late 1990’s as a way to document and exchange information on data services to its implementation in the Global Change Master Directory (GCMD), The SERF has evolved to serve the user community in the discovery, access and use of Earth science tools, applications, educational resources, and models.
The ESDS-RFC-013 Technical Working Group (TWG) has conducted a review of ESDS-RFC-013 Service Entry Resource Format (SERF) Standard with the following conclusion:
That the Standards Process Group should not endorse ESDS-RFC-013 as a Recommended Standard, nor as a Technical Note.
The TWG bases its recommendation on the following:
- Only four responses were received, despite additional, targeted requests to likely responders.
- None of the four responses recommended adoption of the document as an endorsed standard.
- Only one of the four responses was highly favorable towards the SERF.
- Two of the four responses indicated that the Earth Science community is far from consensus on how to implement service metadata and discovery.
The TWG consensus is that this does not constitute sufficient support to endorse the RFC as either a Recommended Standard or as a Technical Note.
ESDS-RFC-013 was submitted by Lola Olsen and Tyler Stevens of the GCMD.
Overall, the TWG conducted a single review cycle. The review was tailored to elicit
opinions from the community of users and providers of data services such as tools,
applications, educational resources, and models.
The review of the specification was completed over a period of approximately 6 weeks.
During that time, only four responses were received. Three were submitted by
individuals, one by a DAAC. Of the three individual responses, one response was
actually not about ESDS-RFC-013, but rather was about a problem (since resolved) that
the submitter had with the service itself.
The other two individual responses highlighted the fact that the Earth Science community
(and even the overall geospatial community) is far from achieving consensus on how to
implement service metadata and service discovery services.
ESDS-RFC-013 proposes the Service Entry Resource Format (SERF) as an ESDS
Standard. Its functionality is described in the excerpt below:
SERF is the acronym for Service Entry Resource Format, a de-facto standard used to create
directory entries that describe a group of services. A SERF consists of a collection of fields that
detail specific information about the service. Seven fields are required in the SERF; the others
expand upon and clarify the information. Some of the fields are free-text; others require the use
of valid values.
The SERF provides users the ability to discover services to manipulate data. The SERF contains
those fields that are necessary for users to decide whether a particular service would be useful for
their needs. Using a specific set of fields also helps to "normalize" the search for data services
through the use of several alternative search engines.