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Unit Dictionary Working Group Update

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Spring 2006

- Jonathan Walsh (BES)

I joined the Unit Dictionary Working Group in August, to help create online forms to enter units into the dictionary. I provide this status report based on my perusal of the emails to the group.

  • One of the new units - milligramPerGramPerDay - forced the creation of both a new unitType and parentSI unit.
  • UnitType expresses "what's being measured"... In the case of milligramPerUnitPerDay, that would be "MassPerMassPerTime". ParentSI expresses "what are the common SI units this can convert to" and in this case it's "KilogramsPerKilogramsPerSecond".
  • The progress and all changes of the project are available through
  • Mark Servilla has a database for sharing and comparing custom unit definitions created by LTER sites on his server at If you simply search "all" you can get a good idea of what units have been defined.
  • Wade Sheldon (GCE) has on his website, a metadata record for a data set that includes several custom unit definitions. It's visible online at: Click on the "Complete EML" link in the metadata section of the summary page and you can see how it looks expressed in EML.

The Unit Dictionary Working Group members are:

  • Ackerman, Todd - NWT
  • Baker, Karen - PAL
  • Baudry, Jacques - INT
  • Costa, Duane - LNO
  • Elias, Pavol - INT
  • Garritt, Hap - PIE
  • Haber, Shaun - PAL
  • Millerand, Florence - PAL
  • O'Brien, Margaret - SBC
  • Powell, Linda - FCE
  • Ribes, David - PAL
  • Romanello, Samantha - LNO
  • San Gil, Inigo - LNO
  • Servilla, Mark - LNO
  • Sheldon, Wade - GCE
  • Walsh, Jonathan - BES
  • Yarmey, Lynn - CCE