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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Use of Information Technologies for Dietary Composition and Survey Evaluations

Location: Nutrient Data

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To conduct an independent and outside scientific evaluation of the IT capabilities of the Food Composition and Methods Development Laboratory coordinated with the Nutrient Data Laboratory and the Food Surveys Research Group; including an assessment of whether cloud computing or local data storage is the optimal approach for the next 5-10 years of anticipated data collection, storage, data manipulation and dissemination; and to implement changes to update and modernize the IT infrastructure of the Food Composition and Methods Development Laboratory, the Nutrient Data Laboratory and the Food Surveys Research Group.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
ARS will compile the names of individuals with expertise to evaluate existing and future needs for evaluating good composition data arising from analysis in the laboratories. Research will include how to work more effectively in sharing compositional information and associated food and dietary analysis across the various laboratories. This information will be used to develop new capabilities to optimally collect, analyze, store, manipulate and disseminate data. Acquire hardware and software to meet the research needs to evaluate food composition information that serves as the underpinning for nutrition monitoring that will be generated by these laboratories.


3.Progress Report:

To date three thematic areas (Data Collection and Storage, Data Dissemination, Data Manipulation) have been identified to expand within the current Information Technology capabilities. Two part-time coordinators have been hired to assist with the collaboration across the two groups within BHNRC and the University of Maryland. Considerable time was devoted to identify experts in each of these areas who would be willing to come to Beltsville to review current capabilities and provide insights into future needs. These Panels are now in place and meeting are in place for September and October. In addition, some modifications in our current database capabilities have been made to ease our abilities to capture and categorize nutrient data information. Finally, we have hired a part-time computer program to assist with modification of existing programs for capturing and distribution of information collected by the Food Survey Research Group.


Last Modified: 4/18/2014
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