For the administration of metadata and the import of data a multi-user client/server system called 4th Dimension (ACI) is used by the data curators. After requesting for a login account, new curators need to install the 4D-client on their PC for communication with Pangaea.
The 4D-client provides a graphical user interface (GUI) to enter new data in the various metadata tables and to import data. Relations between data and metadata are set during the import procedure. The content of tables and data sets can be changed with 4D at any time.
The 4D server hardware/software is located in the computer center at AWI.
The relational 4D system holds a copy of the metadata. Data with metadata are stored in the relational database management system Sybase running on a mainframe in the computer center of AWI with back-up though a mirrored storage system. The 4D server has redundant copies of the Pangaea metadata file (2 GB in 2008) on two mirrored internal hard discs.
4D also allows the definition of retrievals to be used in links for dynamic download of data sets. Any retrievals and the configuration of the output file can be saved and linked to a data set description using a static URL instead of a data set. Dynamic retrievals and the output configuration can also be predefined with ART, see also DDI.