Mercury is a set of tools for federated harvesting, searching, and retrieving metadata, particularly spatiotemporal metadata. Version 3.0 of the Mercury toolset provides orders of magnitude improvements in search speed, support for additional metadata formats, integration with Google Maps for spatial queries, facetted type search, support for RSS (Really Simple Syndication) delivery of search results, and enhanced customization to meet the needs of the multiple projects that use Mercury. It provides a single portal to very quickly search for data and information contained in disparate data management systems, each of which may use different metadata formats. Mercury harvests metadata and key data from contributing project servers distributed around the world and builds a centralized index. The search interfaces then allow the users to perform a variety of fielded, spatial, and temporal searches across these metadata sources. This centralized repository of metadata with distributed data sources provides extremely fast search results to the user, while allowing data providers to advertise the availability of their data and maintain complete control and ownership of that data.

Mercury periodically (typically daily) harvests metadata sources through a collection of interfaces and re-indexes these metadata to provide extremely rapid search capabilities, even over collections with tens of millions of metadata records. A number of both graphical and application interfaces have been constructed with- in Mercury, to enable both human users and other computer programs to perform queries. Mercury was also designed to support multiple different projects, so that the particular fields that can be queried and used with search filters are easy to configure for each different project.

This work was done by Bruce E. Wilson, Giri Palanisamy, Ranjeet Devarakonda, B. Timothy Rhyne, and Chris Lindsley of UT-Battelle; and James Green of Information International Associates for Goddard Space Flight Center. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at under the Software category. GSC-15723-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the June, 2010 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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