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1.1.1  Goals and Philosophy

The overarching goal of the Magnetics Information Consortium (MagIC) is to develop and maintain databases and associated information technology for the international paleomagnetic, geomagnetic and rock magnetic community. MagIC is hosted under the umbrella of EarthRef.org allowing coordination with other information technology initiatives in the Earth sciences, such as GERM, SBN and ERESE. This facilitates interdisciplinary research, by allowing ready access to relevant information in related disciplines. MagIC serves the larger scientific and educational community by making its databases freely accessible and by providing visualization tools designed for users with various levels of expertise.

The PMAG Portal and the RMAG Portal (still under development) form the access points to a new generation of community-based paleomagnetic and rock magnetic databases. These web portals share the same underlying MagIC Data Model, allowing for searches and access to information in both databases. Users can upload their own data (for free) using the standard MagIC Metadata and Data Model available online as long as these uploads are associated with a citable publication and the user have registered. Substantial effort has gone into making the data model flexible enough to accommodate the broad range of data collected in rock and paleomagnetic studies. Where feasible, contributors are encouraged to upload all their measurements and descriptions of lab procedures, in addition to their higher level (published) results. Digital information that does not fit readily into the MagIC always can be uploaded and archived in the ERDA online archive.

MagIC is managed with the help of in particular a Steering Committee and a Metadata and Method Codes Committee that both have a wide representation from the paleomagnetic and rock magnetic research community, nationally and internationally. MagIC also promotes a community dialog on how modern paleo, rock and geomagnetic databases should evolve, and what online tools are needed for data analysis. The dialog includes sponsoring discussions at workshops and promoting special sessions at scientific meetings. MagIC has evolved substantially since its inception at the PMAG Workshop held in March 2002 at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla.

From the start MagIC has been incorporating PMAG data from the IAGA databases, namely GPMDB, PINT2003, TRANS, PSVRL and SECVR. However, the new data model allows contributors to archive more information than before, and provides ready access to the data online without the need to resort to commercial database software. RMAG is the first attempt to generate a database of rock magnetic data.