In this article Prof Mike Stephenson and the DDE steering group describe how DDE will link important deep-time databases that are part of the so-called ‘long tail’. The fact that long-tail deep-time data are difficult to access holds back progress in geological science. The low discoverability and heterogeneity of such data make them difficult to bring together to gain the benefits of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and to see the data in full detail. Modern sensor data are used to measure and model present-day Earth processes, but it is deep-time data that we need to understand past processes and events.
Through DDE, these data will be available in easy-to-use hubs. Data brought together in new ways will afford insights into the distribution and value of Earth’s resources and materials, as well as its hazard.