For the whole period of the World Ocean studies the Russian marine science has accumulated voluminous expeditionary and historic ocean research material. From the methodic, scientific and practical points of view the collection, storage and processing of research data have been among the most important problems from the moment of the first measurements in the ocean. Within the main historic period of scientific research this problem was solved by storing records of ships log-books, scientific reports and publications which gradually were accumulated in the state and agency archives and scientific libraries. Since the appearance of computers and development of technical means for ocean exploration the volume of oceanographic data has become an ever growing flow and data storage has required a creation of special programs - data bases (DB) meant to systematize, archive, search, retrieve and store the data. To-day, the creation of universal and specialized DB is accompanied by the improvement of digital technical means, software and the development of new standards. From year to year this process rises the data accessibility level by gradually and systematically transforming the data to the digital form to be stored in one or another format. Of particular importance in this process is the XML data presentation format which every field of knowledge is developing according to its specific requirements
In 2001 - 2003, the P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology developed the first variant of oceanographic data storage which includes both the Ocean DB itself and instrumental means to work with it. To describe the results of field research a data format in XML language was developed and proposed. The proposed standard for describing the results of marine expeditions was called OceanML.
OceanML describes the structure of the XML document of an expeditionís report, possible descriptors and attributes, as well as data types. The description is given in the XML Schema language. The XML Schema language was recommended by the World Wide Web (W3C) consortium.
The XML language has been chosen for oceanographic data presentation owing to the following properties: it can be used for the description of diversified complex data; it is understandable to man and computer; it includes both data and their description; it is supported by the leading software producers; XML documents can easily be transformed into any format of presenting HML page, WML page, PDF files with the aid of XSLT language; meets the established international standards.
The main objective of the project is the creation of information means for systematizing and storing the results of ocean observations accumulated at the P.P.Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, the Russian Academy of Sciences, for many years. One of the main tasks to be achieved includes the development of computer client-server applications meant for: a prompt replenishment of DB with the results of sea research from aboard research vessels and incidental surveys; a structurized record of research data; reliable storage; highly efficient processing of large data mass; a collective access to the information via Internet; correction of expensive expeditionary research on the real time scale and raising the efficiency due to DB operative accessibility.