Data Distribution


The Center is increasingly involved in digital library and digital archive efforts.  For more than a decade, a range of research activities at CAST have led to the development of a number of useful datasets ranging from information on avian habitat in the US, conservation planning areas in South America, soils mapping and watershed information for Arkansas, land use and land cover for Central America and Arkansas, declassified high resolution satellite imagery from the 1960s and 1970s for the Near East and many high density (laser scanning) data sets from locations around the world, to list a few. Additionally the Center has been involved in a number of research efforts focusing on development of data library and archive processes and standards.

Digital metadata activities

Metadata specifications

As part of Mellon and NSF funded projects, CAST staff are working to develop metadata and archival procedures for a range of non-traditional digital data formats (geophysical, long and short range laser scanning, photogrammetry, LiDAR, virtual reality and GIS) produced by archaeologists. These are second generation efforts building on the ADS Guides to Good Practice.


CAST also applies various metadata to its existing digital materials. CAST web pages currently have embedded Dublin Core metadata consistent with COinS (ContextObject in SPAN) allowing their ready citation via Zotero and similar bibliographic systems.

Digital object identifiers (DOI)

Pending the forthcoming U of A’s adoption of a DOI structure/system, CAST will assign DOIs to all its stable digital materials.


ATOM feeds (plus GeoRSS) will be associated with all CAST content including digital objects. While such feeds are useful for frequently updated content ATOM is increasingly being used as a vehicle for digital object aggregation (see and this will be their primary role.


Digital library data sets

A major data asset for the state of Arkansas is the GeoStor system, Geostor was initially designed and developed at the Center but is now operated by the Arkansas Geographic Information Office.  GeoStor was the first state enterprise level system and its design and development earned Jim Farley, then of the Center, the 1999 Smithsonian-Computer World Innovation Network Award.  GeoStor was developed utilizing the Oracle spatial database structures.  A similar enterprise architecture was used in the successful MesoStor system developed for NASA as part of its Servir Project.  More recently the Center has focused its efforts on the University of Arkansas' Spatial Library.  Research now is on the extension of the enterprise geospatial database to non-traditional data formats such as laser point clouds (both aircraft and terrestrial), large volumes (multiple 10,000s) of imagery and networks.


In addition to the datasets that are available here, Stephan Pollard and associates have also developed extensive resource lists providing entry points to data access for Japan and the US.  The US resource, called "Starting the Hunt", was among the largest and most used "finding aids" for spatial data in existence.

Information on a variety of datasets available through CAST is provided in the links to the left.