ORDS How-To 02: Create and manage projects

1. About this guide

This document is one of a series of How-To guides for the Online Research Database Service (ORDS).

Please note that the ORDS is now in the process of being wound down. From 1 June 2017, the service will cease to be supported by the University of Oxford. We therefore strongly recommend that the ORDS is not used for new projects. Please contact the Research Support team to discuss alternative options.

Contents

1.1. Definitions

  • Within the ORDS, a project may be thought of as an electronic container for one or more databases.
  • The project owner is the ORDS user with primary responsibility for a project. By default, the user who creates a project is its owner.
  • There may also be other project members, who have some level of access to the databases within the project. Project members have one of four roles, or permission levels. These are explained in section 4.1.2. below.

1.2. Pre-requisites

This How-To assumes that you have already registered to use the ORDS. For instructions on how to do this, please see the first guide in this series, How to get started using the ORDS.

2. Creating a new project

2.1. Getting started

The ORDS system can be accessed at https://app.ords.ox.ac.uk/.

Log in to the ORDS system using your username and password. You will be taken to the welcome page.

If you are not yet a member of any ORDS projects, you will see a message indicating this:

ORDS no projects message

If you have previously created an ORDS project, or been given access to one by another ORDS user, you will see a list of the projects you are currently involved in, with the Create new project button above it.

Click the Create new project button.

2.2. The Create New Project form

You will now see the Create New Project form. This allows you to enter some basic information (or metadata) about the project you wish to create.

Create New Project form

2.2.1. Name and Description

Two fields in the form are mandatory: Name and Description.

The project Name can be whatever you choose, providing it is at least two characters long. However, brackets should be avoided in project names, as these can sometimes cause a system error resulting in projects being lost.

The Description is intended to provide a summary of key information about the project. The field can be used to describe the subject matter and scope of the project, and to supply other relevant information such as details of the people involved, or the URL of a project website.

The project name and description will appear in the list of ORDS projects you and other project members see after you log in. If the project is included in the public version of the ORDS project list (see section 2.2.3. below for more details), this information will also appear there.

2.2.2. Start date and End date

You can also supply a Start date and an End date for the project. You can type this into the box directly, using the DD/MM/YYYY format. If you do not wish to specify the date this precisely, you can add just the month and year (MM/YYYY), or just a year (YYYY).

Alternatively, you can select start and end dates using the calendar. To do this, click the small calendar icon at the end of the Start date or End date field.

Start date and End date fields

A calendar will appear. Use the arrow buttons on the top row to move to the appropriate month and year, then click the date you want. It will appear in the field.

Start date and End date fields with calendar

The End date is simply the date you currently expect the project to finish on; you will be able to continue using the ORDS system after this date if you need to. If the actual project end date changes, you will be able to edit this field.

2.2.3. Exclude from public ORDS project list

You will also see two checkboxes, labelled Exclude from public ORDS project list and Enable ODBC access for project.

If Exclude from public ORDS project list is selected, other users of ORDS will not be able to find information about your project via the project search function. The public ORDS project list gives the name, description, and owner for each project. If project members have created datasets and made these publicly available, these will also be listed. (Data that a project member has not specifically chosen to make publicly available will never be accessible via the public ORDS project list.)

Checking this box will not affect what other members of the project are able to access; it simply stops the project details being publicly available.

Note that whether this box is checked or not, the project will not be included in the public ORDS project list if it has trial status. For more information on the difference between trial and full projects, see section 3 below.

2.2.4. Enable ODBC access for project

Selecting Enable ODBC access for project makes it possible for project members to use an ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) connection to access data in the ORDS. This means that project members can make use of the search and analysis features of another software package (such as Microsoft Access, for example) to work on data stored in an ORDS database, thus allowing users to continue to enjoy the advantages of the ORDS system’s cloud hosting while using an alternative user interface. It is also possible to use an ODBC connection to display data online using a custom-built web front-end.

For more information, see the ORDS ODBC connections page. If you would like help setting up an ODBC connection, please contact the ORDS help desk by emailing ords@it.ox.ac.uk.

2.3. Creating the project

When you have completed the form and are ready to continue, click the Create button.

You should now see a message saying Project created successfully.

Underneath this will be a list of the ORDS projects you are currently involved in.

Project list

Click the name of the project you have just created to be taken to the project page.

3. Trial projects and full projects

When created, ORDS projects will initially have trial project status. Trial projects are intended to allow you to get a feel for how the ORDS system works and whether it is suitable for use in your research.

In a trial project, you can:

  • Import existing database files
  • Create databases from scratch using the ORDS schema designer
  • View, edit, and query data
  • Work collaboratively by inviting other people to become members of your ORDS project

However, in a trial project, you cannot:

  • Add more than a hundred records to any database table
    • You can import database tables which contain over a hundred records to see how the data looks in the ORDS, but you will not be able to add any further records to these
  • Create ORDS datasets (sets of saved query results)

Additionally, trial projects are not publicly visible:

  • Information about trial projects is excluded from the public version of the ORDS project list
  • You cannot make data from an ORDS trial project publicly available on the web

Trial projects are labelled as such in your ORDS project list.

ORDS project list with trial project highlighted

You will also see a message indicating that the project has trial status at the top of the ORDS project page.

3.1. Upgrading trial projects to full projects

Project owners and administrators can request that a trial project be upgraded to a full one, removing the restrictions detailed above. There is no charge for upgrading trial projects, but you may be contacted by a member of the ORDS team for a brief chat about your project, to ensure that the ORDS is a suitable tool for your work.

To request an upgrade, go to the project page. (The project page is reached by clicking the project name in the ORDS project list.)

Scroll to the bottom of the page, where you will see the Project Details pane. If the project has trial status, the pane will contain a summary of the restrictions applying to trial projects, and the Request full project button.

Project Details pane with 'Request full project' button highlighted

Click the Request full project button to trigger a project upgrade request. You will be contacted by the ORDS team in due course.

If you do not see the Request full project button, this may mean that another project member has already requested that the project be upgraded. Please contact the ORDS help desk by emailing ords@it.ox.ac.uk if you are unsure.

Please note that tables in full projects are restricted to a maximum of 500,000 records. If this poses a problem, or if your total data storage requirements are likely to be greater than 20GB (including saved datasets), please raise this as an issue when contacted by ORDS staff. Alternatively, you can send a message to the ORDS help desk, by emailing ords@it.ox.ac.uk.

4. Managing a project

This section covers adding and removing project members, editing existing members’ roles, editing project details, viewing a project’s history via the audit record, and deleting a project.

For information about how to create a database within your project, see the later guides in this series, How to upload a database, and How to build and structure databases.

The actions described in sections 4.1., 4.2., and 4.3. below are performed via the project page – the page in the ORDS system that gives basic information about a project and its members. If you have just followed the instructions in the previous section, you will already be on this page. If not, you can get there by logging in to the ORDS, and clicking on the project name in the project list on the welcome page. (To return to the welcome page from elsewhere in the ORDS system, click the ORDS logo which appears at the left-hand end of the dark blue banner across the top of the screen.)

4.1. Managing the members of a project

4.1.1. Viewing current project members

If you are the project owner or a project administrator, you can see a list of the project’s current members on the project page. Information is given about each member’s current role.

Project member list with three entries

4.1.2. ORDS project member roles

There are four roles that members of ORDS projects may have. Roles determine members’ permission levels – that is, what they can and cannot do within the project.

  • The project owner is the ORDS member with primary responsibility for a project. By default, the person who creates an ORDS project is its owner. Project owners can:
    • Add and remove project members
    • Edit members’ roles
    • Request that a trial project be upgraded to a full one
    • Create and delete databases
    • Create and delete database versions
    • Edit project or database metadata
    • Restructure databases (that is, add and delete tables, add and delete fields within tables, and edit the relationships between tables)
    • View, add, edit, and delete records within a database
    • Export databases
    • Query databases
    • Export the results of database queries
    • Create datasets by saving the results of database queries
    • View previously created datasets
    • Delete the project
  • Project administrators have all the permissions that project owners have, except for the ability to delete the project.
  • Contributors can:
    • View, add, edit, and delete records within a database
    • Export databases
    • Query databases
    • Export the results of database queries
    • Create datasets by saving the results of database queries
    • View previously created datasets

They cannot add or remove members, edit members’ roles, edit project or database metadata, or create, delete, or restructure databases.

  • Viewers can:
    • View records within a database
    • Export databases
    • Query databases
    • Export the results of database queries
    • View datasets previously created by other project members

They cannot create, delete, or edit anything within the project – whether this relates to project members and their roles, project or database metadata, or the structure and content of databases and datasets.

The permissions of the different roles are summarized in the table below:

  Project Owner Project Administrator Contributor Viewer
Delete project Y N N N
Add / remove / edit project member Y Y N N
Request upgrade to full project Y Y N N
Create / delete database Y Y N N
Create / delete database versions Y Y N N
Edit project / database metadata Y Y N N
Restructure database Y Y N N
Add / edit / delete database record Y Y Y N
Create and save dataset Y Y Y N
View database tables Y Y Y Y
Query database and export results Y Y Y Y
Export databases Y Y Y Y
View previously saved datasets Y Y Y Y

Permissions are assigned at the project level. In other words, if someone is (for example) a project administrator, they will have project administrator permissions for every database within that project. There is at present no way to restrict permissions to a particular database.

4.1.3. Adding new members

To add new members, you need to be the project owner or a project administrator.

Click the Add new member button in the Project Members pane on the project page.

Project member list - Add New Member button highlighted

You will be taken to the Add New Member form. In the field labelled Email address, enter the email address of the person you wish to add. If that person is already an ORDS user, you will need to know the email address that they used when registering for the ORDS system. If the person you wish to add has not yet registered with ORDS, you will be able to send them an invitation.

Select the desired role from the Required role drop-down list. See section 4.1.2. above for details of what people with each role type are able to do.

Add New Member form

Click Add.

You will be taken back to the project page.

If the person you have just added is already a registered ORDS user, you should see a message confirming that the member’s details have been updated. The new member will now appear in the Project Members pane.

Project member list

Note that the member’s name will appear as they entered it when they registered with the ORDS.

If the person is not a registered ORDS user, you will see a message asking if you would like to send them an invitation to join.

Add New Member form invitation message

To do this, click Send invitation.

If you see this message when trying to add someone who you believe has already registered with the ORDS, it is worth checking that the email address you have entered is the one they used when registering. Some users have multiple email addresses or aliases (a departmental address and a college one, for example), and ORDS will not recognize these as belonging to the same user. If you continue to have problems adding someone who is a registered ORDS user, please contact the ORDS help desk by emailing ords@it.ox.ac.uk.

If the user is not already registered with ORDS, and you opt to send the invitation, you will be returned to the project page, and will see a message confirming that an email has been sent. The person you have added will appear in the Pending Project Members section, underneath the main Project Members list. Once they have registered with the ORDS, their details will move to the Project Members section.

Project member list with pending member

4.1.4. Editing members’ roles

To edit members’ roles, you need to be the project owner or a project administrator.

Find the member whose role you wish to edit in the Project Members pane on the project page. Click the Edit project member button that appears next to their name.

You will be taken to the Edit Project Member form. Select the desired new role from the drop-down list, and click Save changes.

You will be returned to the project page, and should see a message confirming that the member details have been updated. The member’s new role will now appear next to their name.

The identity of the project owner cannot be changed from within the ORDS interface (this also means that if you are the project owner, your role cannot be edited from within the interface). If it becomes necessary to change the owner of a project, please contact the ORDS help desk by emailing ords@it.ox.ac.uk.

Please note that if you are a project administrator, it is possible for you to change your own role to a lower level (i.e. contributor or viewer). Because contributors and viewers cannot edit roles, you will then be unable to change your role back again. If this happens accidentally, you will need to contact the project owner or another administrator and ask them to reinstate you.

4.1.5. Removing members

To remove members, you need to be the project owner or a project administrator.

Find the member whose role you wish to edit in the Project Members pane on the project page. Click the Remove member button that appears next to their name.

You will be taken to a confirmation page. If you are sure you wish to remove the member from the project, click Confirm. You will be returned to the project page, and should see a message confirming that the project member has been removed.

If you decide you do not wish to remove the member, use the Back button on your browser to return to the project page.

The project owner cannot be removed from the list of members of a project. If a project owner wishes to be removed from a project, it is necessary first to transfer ownership of the project to someone else. To request this, please contact the ORDS help desk by emailing ords@it.ox.ac.uk.

4.2. Editing project details

To edit a project’s metadata and options, you need to be the project owner or a project administrator.

On the project page, find the Project Details pane. Click the Edit project details button.

Project Details pane with Edit Project Details button highlighted

You will be taken to the Edit Project Details form. The fields are the same as those in the Create New Project form – see section 2.2. above for further information.

Once you have finished making the desired edits, click Save changes. You will be returned to the project page.

4.3. Viewing a project’s history via the audit record

Project owner and project administrators are able to view the past audit record of a project. The audit record is a history of all the significant events that have happened within that project’s life – details of the project’s creation, adding and removal of members, creation and editing of databases, and so forth. It also allows you to see when each action occurred, and who performed it.

To view the audit record, find the Project Details section of the project page. Click the View audit record button.

After viewing the audit record, use your browser’s Back button to return to the project page.

4.4. Deleting a project

To delete a project, you need to be that project’s owner.

Deleting an ORDS project is done via the project list on the welcome page. This is the page you see immediately after logging in to the  ORDS. To get there from elsewhere in the system, click the ORDS logo which appears at the left-hand end of the dark blue banner across the top of the screen.

Find the list entry for the project you wish to delete, and click the Delete project button. (You will not see this button for any projects you do not own.)

Project list with Delete Project button highlighted

You will be taken to a confirmation page.

Please note that deleting a project cannot be undone, and that any databases that the project contains will also be permanently deleted at the same time.

If you are certain you wish to delete the project, click Delete. You will be returned to the project list, and should see a message saying Project deleted successfully.

To return to the project list without deleting the project, click Cancel.

5. What next?

You may want to have a look at some of the later guides in this series. For a full list, visit the ORDS documentation home page.

You can also find out more about the ORDS service by visiting the ORDS home page, http://ords.ox.ac.uk/. If you have specific queries, you can contact the ORDS help desk by emailing ords@it.ox.ac.uk.

Service area: 

Written by IT Services. Latest revision 8 August 2016