We report herein the publication and evaluation of the International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project (ISLSCP) Initiative II global interdisciplinary data record. The record consists of 52 data sets, with a common series in the 10-year period 1985 to 1996. Selected data series extend well beyond this period. All series are coregistered to a common grid and gap-filled for continuity using uniform procedures. We describe briefly the individual data sets within the collection; provide user guidance; and contrast, compare and evaluate those data sets containing similar parameters (land cover, NDVI, albedo, precipitation and near-surface meteorology). We also describe the process used to develop the Initiative II collection which involved a broad international scientific community focused on addressing a well-defined set of carbon, water and energy cycle questions within the context of a specific set of analysis tools. The communities that drove the definition of the Initiative II collection were investigators within the international scientific communities of the Global Energy and Water cycle Experiment, GEWEX, program (http://www.gewex.org/); the International Geosphere/Biosphere Program IGBP (http://www.igbp.kva.se); and the U.S. Global Change Research Program, USGCRP (http://www.usgcrp.gov/). Finally, we report usage statistics based on access and download of files from the ISLSCP Initiative II collection available at http://www.daac.ornl.gov.