For several years now, NIST has been a leader in the development and use of Information Technology to process calibration information. Beginning in 1996, researchers designed and developed a calibration database, the NIST Information System to Support Calibrations (ISSC), to track and maintain all calibration information from process benchmarking to customer calibration reports. Through the use of the ISSC, NIST has proved that the calibration process is more efficient when aided by electronic data handling and web-enabled clients, as one might expect. What is not as obvious is that modern automated calibration techniques generate too much data for researchers to handle manually, even in spreadsheets, or to exchange electronically with other researchers through reports, e-mails, and voice. The Metrology of the Ohm project within the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory (EEEL) at NIST developed and now relies on a Calibration Check Standard Database (CCSD), a complement to the ISSC, for data storage, backup, and electronic retrieval of metrology data. Metrologists and IT researchers are now testing a CCSD that is designed to be expanded as a general Calibration Database to handle check standards and customer standards data from every calibration area at NIST. This is the exact route the successful ISSC database took, first showing success in a single calibration area then expanding to a division, to EEEL and finally to all calibration stakeholders at NIST. The CCSD is integrated with the ISSC to capitalize on data the ISSC already contains. The CCSD provides enhanced search features that are customizable and easy to use, better security features, and more control of data by researchers. Like the ISSC, the system is configured to be useful to metrologists, based on two observations: 1) Measurement automation increasingly allows rapid accumulation of data. As more and more systems are automated, no longer will a single researcher be able to process the data manually. Improved technology will be required to process the overwhelming amount of data that will be generated and build detailed records of the trends and characteristics associated with precision reference standards and measurement systems. 2) Unprocessed reference data in a standard format has a useful lifetime of many years. Data maintained in the format proprietary to an instrument manufacturer is not easily transferred after the fact, and thus immediate transfer to database storage is preferable. An ideal metrology information system is not dependent on proprietary methods, since measurement methods and data formats change frequently and are driven by new technology.
June 4-8, 2007
PTB-BIPM Workshop on the Impact of Information Technology in Metrology
check standards, database