The SSHOC project task 3.5 has worked with metadata and data format interoperability issues and built an interoperability hub consisting of a portal (called Conversion Hub) and selected metadata conversion solutions that the task team is currently developing. The work is based on earlier work of task 3.5 that delivered Deliverable 3.1 Report on SSHOC (meta)data interoperability problems, which provided an inventory of metadata and data formats used by the SSHOC communities, and recommendations for metadata standards and data file formats.
The Conversion Hub is based on a data model developed by task 3.5 team, and the Hub is built upon version 9 of CMS Drupal. Core functions for users looking for conversion solutions between research (meta)data formats include versatile search options and facet search, as well as autocompletion of search terms. The Conversion Hub also supports controlled vocabularies and includes good editorial facilities to curate and extend the information and provides an API for making the list of Conversion Solutions available in a machine-readable format.
The work on Conversion Hub will have to continue after SSHOC. The opportunities to maintain and develop the Conversion Hub after the project would be greater, and costs lower, if it were part of a wider solution or a pool of interconnected services. It should be possible to find synergy by creating, for example, common curation, technical or governance teams across various SSH services.
Generally speaking, there is an abundance of mappings between meta(data) formats, many in spreadsheet tables, but not very many ready-to-use conversion services. The shortage of available conversion services and solutions results at least partly from the lack of collaboration between communities and lack of earlier SSH cross-community projects. Projects like SSHOC are needed for pulling the different SSH communities out of their silos.