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World Data Center for Oceanography, Silver Spring

World Data Center for Oceanography, Silver Spring

World Data Center (WDC) for Oceanography is one component of a global network of discipline subcenters that facilitate international exchange of scientific data. Originally established as the World Data Center system during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58, the new World Data System continues to function under the guidance of the International Council for Science (ICSU). WDC for Oceanography, Silver Spring, is collocated with, and operated by, the U.S. National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC).

In accordance with principles set forth by ICSU, WDC for Oceanography acquires, catalogues, and archives data, publications, and data inventory forms and makes them available to requesters in the international scientific community. Oceanographic data contributed to the WDC become automatically available to scientific investigators in any country. Thus, there can be no restrictions or limitations placed on data exchanged through the WDC system. However, for certain types of data, the exchange of inventories of available data in a WDC subcenter may be considered acceptable in lieu of the transfer of the actual data sets.

The World Data Center for Oceanography, Silver Spring, Catalogue will no longer be updated. For accession to all data available through WDC for Oceanography, Silver Spring, please go to the US National Oceanographic Data Center’s World Ocean Database WODselect

Publications and Data Products

All data and publications received by WDC for Oceanography are described in the "Catalogue of Data". Publications received by WDC for Oceanography that do not contain cruise data or information are inventoried then provided to the Central NOAA Library for inclusion in the NOAA Library Catalog.

WDC for Oceanography is operated by the U.S. NODC Ocean Climate Laboratory and NODC provides support for all required computer operations. Data submitted to the WDC that are amenable to processing and incorporation into NODC's data files thus become part of NODC's global data bank, the World Ocean Database, and are available through the NODC Internet Website or by contacting WDC for Oceanography.

Cruise Summary Report Program

WDC for Oceanography supports the Cruise Summary Report (CSR - formerly ROSCOP) international marine data inventory system. Data inventory forms, such as CSR, enable inventory centers to determine the availability of internationally exchangeable data in advance of the actual receipt of the data and are also useful in providing a referral service to data not yet available through the WDC system. The WDC utilizes the automated ROSCOP information base maintained by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), as well as the SeaDataNet Cruise Summary Report Inventory maintained by Germany’s Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie /Deutsches Ozeanographisches Datenzentrum (BSH/DOD). Online submission forms and instructions are available on the ICES and SeaDataNet websites. Forms are also available from all WDC’s for Oceanography.

Exchange Policy

WDC for Oceanography is responsible for the provision of materials to requesters either in exchange or at a cost not to exceed that of processing and shipping. For certain types of requests, limitations in funding, personnel, or facilities may preclude direct or free provision of data or information by the WDC. In general, reasonably-sized requests from national or regional contributors to WDC for Oceanography may be considered as exchange. For requests for unusually large amounts of data, specially formatted data, derived data products, or data to be obtained from outside the WDC system, WDC for Oceanography will often be required to recover the costs of processing and shipping, or, at its discretion, may arrange that the request be serviced by a regional, national, or discipline center.


World Data Center for Oceanography

  • NOAA
  • Silver Spring, MD 20910-3282
  • Telephone: 301-713-3295
  • Fax: 301-713-3303
  • E-mail:

More information on the World Data System