The FIS InPort Catalog gives NOAA Fisheries and its state and regional partners the capability to share essential information about fisheries data. InPort stores metadata, information about data. InPort, for example, can help answer the following questions:

What logbook data exist for US fisheries?

What time periods and geographic areas are covered by the logbook records?

Who controls the data and how do I contact that individual or organization?

InPort (Information Portal) is one of the initial, bootstrap systems planned for the National Fisheries Information System (FIS) to give NOAA Fisheries and its partners the capability to catalog and search fisheries data holdings. The InPort data catalog can contain the information needed to understand and use fisheries data. InPort does not store fisheries data itself.

InPort will store metadata, information about data. This will include descriptions of structure and content. InPort will not, however, store any of the data. For example, it might say that SEFSC has logbook data from 1986 to the present and describe tables and column descriptions. But InPort will not store the logbook data. In InPort, metadata includes information that helps explain what is in the data and how to use the data.

InPort should include the "what, where, when, how, and who" about data holdings. InPort should store details on the quality and completeness of data, its confidentiality policies, research models, methodologies and usage constraints. It should also explain if the data are accessible, if there are any constraints on its use, and who to contact about getting or understanding the data.

InPort should function much like a library card catalog. A card catalog describes each book in the library by title, author, publisher, and publication date. It also contains a reference number to locate the book among the book shelves. By comparison, InPort should have titles, authors, publishing organizations, publication dates, and whom to contact if you wanted to use the information. InPort will also contain other details about the structure of the data.

InPort was originally described in 2003 and was funded in May 2004 under the FIS Program.