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What is the CIM?

The Common Information Model (CIM) is a metadata standard used by the climate research community and others to describe the artifacts and processes they work with.  This includes climate simulations, the specific model components used to run those simulations, the datasets generated by those components, the geographic grids upon which those components and data are mapped, the computing platforms used, and so on.

The CIM was originally developed by the Metafor project, whose primary focus was the Fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5).  Work is ongoing on creating version 2.0 of the CIM which will be better integrated into existing ISO metadata standards.  The ES-DOC team is building a set of tools which allow users to create (CIM Questionnaire), archive, view (CIM Viewer), and compare (CIM Comparator) CIM documents.

The CIM is comprised of multiple elements:

  • It is primarily defined as a large UML Model.  This is known as the Conceptual CIM or "CONCIM."  The CONCIM is divided into six separate packages:
    • shared - includes elements common to all packages and used by all CIM Documents
    • activity - defines the elements used by Experiments, and Simulations
    • software - defines the elements used by ModelComponents
    • data - defines the elements used by CIM DataSets
    • grids - defines the elements used by geographic grids
    • quality - defines the elements used by Quality Documents; that is, evaluations and annotations of (the artifacts described by) existing CIM metadata
  • The CONCIM is transformed into a set of XML Schemas. These are known as the Application CIM or "APPCIM."
  • The APPCIM can be paired with one or more Controlled Vocabularies (CVs) which specify, among other things, the set of terms that a CIM Document may contain.  For example, the CIM Schema may indicate that a model component can have a child component, but it is the associated CV that indicates that a component of type "atmosphere" can have a child component of type "radiation."

A CIM Document is an XML Document (although the persistence format need not be XML) that conforms to a particular version of the APPCIM and a set of associated CVs

The CIM is an evolving standard and ES-DOC is keen to continue expanding its use beyond CMIP5. 

Last Update: Nov. 12, 2015, 10:15 a.m. by Sylvia Murphy
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ES-DOC-Models Tags: Cyberinstrastructure, Metadata