ORDS How-To 10: Search for projects and view public datasets

1. About this guide

This document is part of a series of How-To guides for the Online Research Database Service (ORDS). It will tell you how to use the public ORDS project list to find information about ORDS projects, and to view datasets that project members have made publicly available.


2. The public ORDS project list

2.1. About the public ORDS project list

In addition to being a service for creating, editing, and searching databases online, the ORDS is also designed to allow researchers to make information about and data from their projects openly available on the web. This is done via the public ORDS project list.

This has a number of possible benefits:

  • Researchers can share information about current projects with other researchers - as a way of seeking new collaborators, for example
  • Researchers can share information about current projects with the wider public, as a way of enhancing impact and engagement
  • Researchers can make the data underlying published research (e.g. articles or conference presentations) available for scrutiny
  • Researchers can share datasets that may have re-use value, either to other researchers or the wider public

2.2. Viewing the public ORDS project list

The public ORDS project list can be accessed by anyone with Internet access: it is not necessary to be registered with the ORDS, or to log in.

To reach the public ORDS project list, go to the ORDS login page: https://app.ords.ox.ac.uk/. Towards the top of the screen are two Search ORDS projects buttons, one in the dark blue header bar, and the other in the Search public project list pane.

ORDS home page with Search ORDS Projects button highlighted

To view the full public project list, click either of these, leaving the adjoining search box blank.

The Search public project list pane only appears on the login page, but the header bar button is present throughout the site, allowing the public project list to be reached from any page in the ORDS.

Public ORDS project list

For each project included, a name, description, project owner, and contact link are given.

Please note that projects will only appear in this list if they have full status, and if the Exclude from public ORDS project list box on the Project Details form has been left unchecked. Changing the project status and options can only be done by logged in members of the project in question: for more details, see sections 2.2.3. and 3. of How to create and manage projects.

If any datasets have been made publicly available, these will also be listed. See section 3. below for more details.

2.3. Searching the public ORDS project list

To search for projects which meet specific criteria, enter a word, part-word, or phrase in the search box next to either of the Search ORDS projects buttons. Project and dataset names and descriptions will be searched for matching terms, and a list of those which meet the criteria will be displayed. The search function is not case sensitive.

Public project list - search results

(It is not currently possible to use the ORDS search function to find projects with a particular owner or type. However, it may be possible to use your web browser's search capability to do this - this is usually accessed by pressing Ctrl + F.)

To return to viewing the full public project list, delete the contents of the search box, and click the Search ORDS projects button.

3. Public datasets

3.1. Dataset details

If any datasets have been made publicly available, these will be listed to the right of the project details.

Public dataset list

Each dataset has a name and description, and the dataset type will also be indicated. Datasets may be static or dynamic:

  • A static dataset is a snapshot of the data at the time the dataset was created. If changes are subsequently made to the database from which the data is drawn, these will not affect the content of the dataset.
  • A dynamic dataset reflects the current contents of the database from which the data is drawn. If changes have been made to the database since the dataset was created, the dataset will update to include these.

3.2. Viewing datasets

To see the contents of a dataset, click the View dataset button.

Public dataset

Datasets can be sorted by clicking column headers. A small arrow will appear next to the header.

Public dataset - sorted

Clicking the same header again reverses the direction of the sort.

4. Contacting a project owner

To contact the owner of an ORDS project, click the contact link in the public project list.

Public project list with contact link highlighted

You will be taken to the contact form.

Contact form

Complete the form with your name, message, and email address, and click Send.

4.1. Requesting additional access to ORDS projects

If you are interested in obtaining further access to a project or dataset you have found via the public ORDS project list, you can use the contact form to ask the project owner if he or she would be willing to add you as a project member.

The data viewing interface available to project members has more features than the public one. Project members with the viewer role can, for example:

  • Export the contents of a dataset as a CSV file
  • View the query used to create a dataset
  • View the rest of the database from which a dataset is taken, and any other databases within the same project
  • Run new queries against the data

Project members with higher permissions levels can also perform other actions, including editing data. See How to view, create, and share datasets and How to view and edit data for more information.

Please be aware, however, that as project membership confers significantly greater access to the data in an ORDS project, project owners may not always wish (or may not be able) to add people who are not part of their immediate project team as project members. The data visible in public datasets may only be a fraction of what the project contains, and some of the additional data may be confidential or otherwise sensitive, governed by strict licensing conditions, or covered by a pre-publication embargo.

If the project owner is willing to add you as a member, you will receive an email notification indicating that you have been added to the project. If you are already a registered ORDS user, the project should appear in your personal project list straight away; if you have not yet registered, you will need to do so - see How to get started using the ORDS for more details.

Adding a new member to an ORDS project involves supplying an email address. You should ensure, therefore, that the email address you give when contacting the project owner is the one associated with your ORDS account (if you have already registered), or the one you intend to use when registering. For members of the University of Oxford, this will generally be your Oxford email address. Members of other institutions which are part of the UK Access Management Federation should generally also use their institutional email address.

5. What next?

You may want to have a look at some of the other 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.

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Written by IT Services. Latest revision 1 February 2016