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Viewshare is a tool for creating new interfaces, relationships, and access points for digital resources. Using Viewshare, you can expose, visualize, and manage data currently stored in Excel spreadsheets, XML MODS, or OAI-PMH. You can view this data in a list or a table, on a map, or in a timeline, scatter plot or pie chart. You can also embed the views you create in existing websites.
The steps to create a Viewshare View are:
Whether you want to share spreadsheets with scientific findings or lists of artwork or photos in a more Web-friendly way, you can rapidly expose your content using Viewshare.
Viewshare makes every attempt to support the following Web browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer v.7 and v.8, Firefox v.4.x, Safari v.3.x, Safari v.4.x, and Chrome v.14.x.
The following web browsers mostly work, but are not as thoroughly tested and not officially supported: Opera v.9.x, Camino v.1.6.x, Firefox v.2.x.
Internet Explorer v.6 does not work with some of the software used by Viewshare and is not supported.
Creating an account allows you to access all the features of Viewshare, create your own personal profile, save the views you create, and connect with other users who have similar interests.
To gain access to Viewshare with an authorized account fill out the sign-up form.
If your user account has been created, you may log in by clicking "Login" at the top right corner of the Viewshare Home Page Home Page. This will take you to the Viewshare Login Page shown in Figure 1. To use a previously created user name and password, enter these in the Log In section on the left side of the Log In page and click "Log in".
See Settings: Managing Your Account for more details on setting up your Viewshare account.
In order to use the "forgot password" feature you will need to have a verified email address for your account. Please remember to verify your email address by taking the following steps:
Setting up your account helps you to get the most out of Viewshare. Doing so helps you find and connect with people you know in order to share data and views in Viewshare. It also helps to keep you up to date with what's going on in the system. This walks you through the key steps for changing your settings and managing your account.
You can manage your account settings from the Settings page (Figure 2) accessible via the link at the top right corner of every Viewshare page when you are logged in.
Email addresses are your way of keeping in touch with what's going on in the Viewshare system via notifications. They also allow you to reset your password if needed. When you sign up for Viewshare we will send a verification email to the email address from which your signup request was sent. To verify your email address, simply click on the link provided in the email. You will be directed to a page which says "Email Confirmed". Multiple email addresses can be added if you would like to receive communications in several accounts.
If you did not verify or enter an email address at signup time, you can do so by visiting the Settings page accessible via a link at the top right corner of every page, once you are logged in. Click "re-send verification email" if you cannot find the original message. Then go to your mail account and click on the link to complete the verification process.
To change your email address, click on the E-Mail Addresses tab accessible via the Settings page. New email addresses can be associated with your account as needed by simply typing them in the box provided and clicking the "Add" button.
To delete an email address, click the "remove" link next to the address that is no longer required. Note: You cannot delete your primary email address. If the address marked as primary is no longer needed, add a new email address and once it has been verified, mark this address as primary. You may now delete the old primary email address.
To change your password, click the change password tab on the Settings page. Enter your current password, then your new password twice. Click the "Change password" button to finalize the update.
Lost your password? Click on "Forgot password?" on the login page. If you have provided an email address, you will be emailed a new temporary password. Please log in and change this password to a permanent one ASAP.
Set your timezone so that receive and sent time for notices is localized to your timezone. To do this, visit the Timezone tab on the Settings page, select the proper timezone from the pulldown menu and click "Change my timezone".
Viewshare can be set to send email notices when specific events occur, especially ones related to your participation in the Viewshare community (see Participating in the Viewshare Communityfor more information). To change your preferences for the email notices you receive, visit the Notices tab via the Settings page. Checking or unchecking the boxes allows you to control the types of email notification you will receive.
Internet news feeds are formatted text files that are accessible at Web addresses to help you find news information. The most common formats are RSS and Atom. News organizations use news feeds to update people with the latest news information. Viewshare uses them to update people regarding the latest data files uploaded and latest views created. You can track the latest data sets and views created across the entire site or by a particular user.
To subscribe to news feeds for the Viewshare site:
To subscribe to news feeds for a specific Viewshare user:
Profiles are a way to tell the Viewshare community a little bit about yourself. You can enter your full name, some text about your interests, your location and a web site URL. Other users will be able to see your profile as they encounter you within the Viewshare community.
To add information to your profile:
You can update your profile information at any time in the future by clicking on the "Edit" link on your Home page.
There are a number of steps to creating a Viewshare View, each of which is explained in more detail in this section:
You can upload a data file to Viewshare by starting from either your Home Page or the Data tab. Click the "Upload Data" button displayed. You will be directed to the "Upload Data" page shown in Figure 4. For more information on the supported file types and sizes see Section 3.1.1: Details of Supported File Types.
For the moment, three types of files can be imported into Viewshare: simplistic Excel spreadsheets, XML MODS, and OAI end points are supported formats.
Simplistic Excel spreadsheets may be used to get data into Viewshare, but every version of Excel's proprietary format cannot be supported. Currently, .xlsx files are not supported, so be sure to re-save the files in an .xls version for upload. By "simplistic" spreadsheets, we mean that a single worksheet can have contiguous rows and columns that form a rectangle. This "rectangular spreadsheet" can have blank columns to the left and right and an optional title and subtitle at the top, as long as they are in single cells.
Best results will be obtained from data files of 1MB in size or smaller. Larger amounts of data will result in significant time delays or even a failure to load the data set.
If you encounter a problem uploading your file, please use the following troubleshooting tips to try to correct the problem:
For XML MODS:
If you have a file that you think should work after troubleshooting please send us your file with some information to help us debug the problem. Create a new discussion thread in the troubleshooting forums. Be sure to include the following information in your post.
After successfully loading the data, you will land on a "Describe Your Data" screen. There are a number of buttons on the toolbar for editing and navigating the records in your uploaded data:
Prior to working with your data, it is wise to save your data set. Click the "Save" link and you will be prompted to give your dataset a title, description, and to make it public or private. Any of this information can be amended later, but it is best to save early and often.
The "Describe Your Data" screen also allows you to review the individual data fields and "describe" them to support creation of your Viewshare View. During the Describe step there are a number of options for modifying the data:
To hide a field so it does not show in the final Viewshare View, uncheck the check box next to the data field in the "Enabled" column. Note: Fields already unchecked are typically fields or data that gets added by the system during the upload process but does not need to display.
Data types are used to drive view features such as the ability to plot data on a map or a timeline. By changing data types, you indicate to Viewshare what kind of data it is dealing with so that it can be properly processed. For instance, to plot a data point on a timeline, it must be indicated as "datetime" format. It is advisable to indicate data types during the Describe step so that you do not have to edit your data set again later if you decide to add a new data-driven view when building your Viewshare View. Note that your data must be in the proper format in order for Viewshare to display it in the appropriate view. If you choose to alter the data type, you should remove the default value of "text" to ensure the Viewshare View display functions properly. If you are unsure whether your data is in the proper format for display see Section 3.2.4: Augment Your Data.
To change the data type for a field:
Repeat this process until all data field types are described as desired.
If you plan to view your data on a map or timeline when creating a Viewshare View, you will need to ensure that your data is in the proper format to support these visualizations.
If your file doesn't have data in these formats or if you are not sure it is in the proper format, Viewshare can augment or transform some types and forms of information into the proper format. Note that Viewshare never changes existing data in your file during the augmentation process. Viewshare only adds columns of new data to your file. You may only augment data when loading or editing the data in the Viewshare tool, before you start creating views.
If your data has any of the following date formats, you may augment the data in this stage to allow plotting on a timeline when building a Viewshare View in a later stage:
International unambiguous, Y2K-safe formats such as:
A subset of ISO 8601 dates (as prevalent in LC MODS):
Also basic US convention, Y2K-safe year dates: MM/DD/YYYY
To augment your date data so that it may be placed on a timeline:
If your data has any of the following location information, you may augment the data in this stage to allow plotting on a map when building a Viewshare View in a later stage:
Note: Location augmentation can fail if any sub-component does not appear in the geocoding database used for automatic latitude/longitude look-ups. Also, at this time location augmentation will not work for zip codes in zip+4 format.
If you have multiple data values which appear in one field, these values can be extracted for individual use in facets or views.
A list can be extracted using the following steps:
You will have added a Title, Description, and Published status (i.e. public or private) to your data set upon the initial data set save. This information can be amended at any later point. To inspect and edit you data set information:
Each time you upload and describe data, Viewshare creates a new data set. Once a data set has been uploaded to Viewshare and published, you can view the data, edit and augment the data, refresh the data, or delete the data set. You can also choose to build new Viewshare Views using the data. Multiple Viewshare Views can be built off of the same data set to afford you different views of the same data. You can even build a new Viewshare View off of another user's data set if you wish.
The "Your Data" section under the Data tab shows all of data sets you have uploaded and which are available to work with in Viewshare. Your data sets can also be viewed from your Home Page.
To view a data set:
To edit a data set:
Note: Additions to the data in your data set will not be reflected in Viewshare automatically. You can add new data to a data set by replacing the data set file with a newer version as needed, as described in the next section.
To refresh a data set:
Once resaved, your data set will now contain the refreshed data. Warning: Please be careful when refreshing data. Only replace data sets with ones that have the exact same format. If you replace your original data set with one that has a different format you may break existing views built by you and by others.
If data sets are out of date or no longer needed, they may be deleted. To delete an existing data set:
Important Note: Deleting a data set causes all Viewshare views associated with the data set to be deleted as well. You will receive a warning message if there are multiple views that have been created from the data set you are trying to delete. Please review this carefully before proceeding. Consider that if other users have built Viewshare view using your data set, their work will also be deleted.
Once you have completed the Describe process and have saved your data set into the Viewshare system, you must take an additional step to "Build" a Viewshare View so that others may interact with your data using the Viewshare tools. You can click on the Data tab and then click the "Build" link next to the data set you would like to use to create a new Viewshare View, as shown in Figure 8. During the Build process, you are building a Viewshare View -- forming the user interface for your uploaded data. You can determine the general look and feel of your Viewshare View, how the user can search, narrow results, and view timelines, maps, and the other interfaces Viewshare can create.
The first step in building in a Viewshare view is to pick a canvas. When you click the "Build" link, the "Pick a Canvas to Create a Data View" box will appear. A canvas is a template that dictates the layout of your screen. You will be presented with a variety of canvas options in a pop-up box as shown in Figure 9. To pick a canvas, simply click on the layout you prefer and you will be taken to a Build screen which reflects your canvas choice and allows you to begin the Build process. Note: You cannot change your canvas style after it is chosen. To build a view with a different canvas, you will need to create a new view.
When first saving you new Viewshare view, you will be promted to give it a Title, Description, and set its publication status to Public or Private. As always, saving your view early and often is recommended. See Section 3.5.14 for how to edit Title, Description and Publication status after the initial save.
Facets add visual elements to the page and provide users with a way to narrow the information presented. You may place facets to the right, left or above the main section of the interface depending on the canvas selection you have made. There are several types of facets that you may add:
To add facets which will appear in your published Viewshare view:
Facets may be removed at any time during the Build process. To remove a facet:
Facet names default to the original property label, but these may be changed if desired. To rename a facet:
Views are like lenses which allow users to create various visualizations of information, for instance to show all of the records in one list, or data plotted on a map or a timeline. The default view is the list view.
A list view, which simply presents a list of records in your data set, is automatically created as the default view option. To modify preferences for the list view:
When done, you may want to click on the "Show Preview" button at the top right of the workspace to see how your list view appears. When previewing you will notice an option at the top of the list called "grouped as sorted". When this box is checked, your list is divided by subheadings based on the sort order of the list.
Map View data pre-requisite: Your file must contain latitude and longitude values and the field type set to "location" during the Describe step in order for data points to appear in your map view. If you do not have lat, long values or are not sure if they are in the proper format for mapping, see Section 3.2.5: Augment Your Data.
To add a map view:
When done, you many want to click the "Show Preview" button at the top right of the workspace to see how your Map view appears. Make any adjustments you want clicking the "Show Builder" button which appears in the "Show Preview" buttons place when you are previewing the view. Use these buttons to toggle back and forth between the build page and the preview page while creating your view.
A scatter plot is a type of display using coordinates to display values for two variables for a set of data. The data is displayed as a collection of points, each having the value of one variable determining the position on the horizontal axis and the value of the other variable determining the position on the vertical axis. To set preferences for a scatterplot view:
When done, you many want to click on the "Show Preview" button to see how your Scatterplot view appears. Make any adjustments you want clicking the "Show Builder" button which appears in the "Show Preview" buttons place when you are previewing the view. Use these buttons to toggle back and forth between the building page and the preview page while you are creating your view.
Viewshare allows you to show your data displayed in table format. To set preferences for a table view:
When done, you many want to click on the "Show Preview" button to see how your Table view appears. Make any adjustments you want clicking the "Show Builder" button which appears in the "Show Preview" buttons place when you are previewing the view. Use these buttons to toggle back and forth between the building page and the preview page while you are creating your view.
Timeline data pre-requisite: Your file must contain date information in ISO8601 format and set to type "datetime" during the Describe step in order for data points to appear in your timeline view. If your date values are not in ISO 8601 format or if you are unsure if they are in the proper format, see Section 3.2.5: Augment Your Data
To set preferences for a timeline view:
When done, you many want to click on the "Show Preview" button to see how your Timeline view appears. Make any adjustments you want clicking the "Show Builder" button which appears in the "Show Preview" buttons place when you are previewing the view. Use these buttons to toggle back and forth between the building page and the preview page while you are creating your view.
Click "Add a View" next to the List View tab, then select "Pie Chart". Since view preferences can be selected directly in your finished pie chart view, there is little to configure for this view. Data that would display well in a pie chart view in any spreadsheet program is a good candidate for the Pie Chart view.
When done, you many want to click on the "Show Preview" button to see how your Pie Chart view appears. Make any adjustments you want clicking the "Show Builder" button which appears in the "Show Preview" buttons place when you are previewing the view. Use these buttons to toggle back and forth between the building page and the preview page while you are creating your view.
It is simple to delete a view during the Build process if you decide that it is no longer needed. To delete a view that has been added during the Build process:
Views are given default names by Viewshare, but these can be changed during the Build process if needed. To change the name of a view:
"List" views set as the default view, but you may move another view into the default position so it appears first in your Viewshare View. To change the default view:
Viewshare allows you to choose from a list of background themes to customize the colors, look and feel of your published Viewshare View. Themes can be changed in the Describe, Build, or Preview phase by clicking on the "Theme" pulldown menu near the top right corner of the page.
Once all data and formatting options have been set as desired, the "Show Preview" button shows what the final version will look like once finalized. This is a functional interface so you may test all your facets and navigation.
Viewshare Views can be modified as needed during creation and after saving. If the preview does not produce the desired results, return to the Describe and Build steps to modify view as needed. When in the preview mode, click on "Show Builder" to return to the build page. Click on the "Show Preview" button again to see the results of any modifications and toggle between the two pages until the preview matches your desired results.
Once you have created a Viewshare View, you may want to inspect, edit or delete it. To perform any of these functions, visit your Home Page or the Views tab and locate the Viewshare View with which to work. There you will see "Inspect," "Edit," and "Delete" links to work with your View.
You also have permissions to see (but not edit or delete) Viewshare Views created by others. To do this, visit the profile page belonging to the creator of the Viewshare View of interest and click on the linked name of the view you would like to inspect.
To inspect an existing Viewshare view:
To edit an existing Viewshare view:
To delete an existing Viewshare View:
Viewshare allows for multiple collections or views to be created for the same data set. To create a new collection using an existing data set:
You can also choose to share a view with only a specific set of individuals by creating a shared link. The shared link will include a special shared key in the URL that will only allow people with that URL to access your view. After clicking the "Share" link in the right corner of your view page you will be prompted to name and save your link.
Once you have saved your link the system will show you the link and give you the option to view it. You will want to copy your link and distribute it to your intended recipients. You can always click the inspect link in the upper right of any view page to manage the shared links for a given view.
On the inspect page you can see information about the data set a view is based on. From the inspect page you can create, see, copy, and delete any of your shared links. In the screenshot below you can see that the user has created two different shared links which they can manage independently of each other.
Viewshare gives you a variety of options for exporting the data from your Views. Whenever you mouse over a view in the public or "Show Preview" page, you will see an orange scissors button at the top right of the view window, as seen in Figure 20. Viewshare allows data to be exported in numerous ways:
To embed a Viewshare view into a page on another site:
The primary attributes of an embedding environment that will affect the display of an embedded data view are the layout mechanism and the width allotment the environment grants the embedded display. CSS styling may have an impact as well.
Embedding is designed to be as self-contained as possible to avoid being affected by its surrounding environment. The layout is primarily achieved through a combination of CSS floats and, inside the Exhibit software that creates the views, tables. This suggests that environments that rely wholly on CSS for layout by way of floats may have a small chance of not holding the embedded view properly, but it's more probable the two systems can work together. CSS layouts based on other mechanisms, like relative or absolute positioning, may have more problems; fixed/percentage-width layouts will depend on the width allotment (see below). Table-based layouts are a subset of fixed/percentage-width layouts.
The embedded view will take up the full width of whatever element it is placed in. It is possible to place an embedded view in an extremely narrow element, but the view display will suffer in constrained spaces. Rough suggestions for width allotment for different view canvases are: 725 pixels wide for three columns, 490 pixels wide for two column, 375 pixels wide for one column. Font size and which views are used will have a heavy impact on the width required.
CSS styling is a broad topic, from colors to backgrounds to font sizes. The embedded view's stylesheets should not affect the rest of the embedding page. Exhibit is styled as black on white by default; pages that place bright text on darker backgrounds may need to consider styling the view themselves to achieve consistency using a tool like Firebug to discover the appropriate selectors.
Problems should be reported in the troubleshooting forums. The more detail you can include the better we can help you.
Note the CSS styling on Viewshare will not transfer in totality to the embedded display as some of the styling is Viewshare-specific. Embedded displays should instead be styled according to the user's needs. jQuery UI and 960 are both partially utilized, and the hooks provided by each can be used for styling regions of the embedded display.
Viewshare offers social and community features to allow you to connect and share data with individuals with similar interests. The community allows you to find people you know and invite them to connect.
To find people to connect with, visit the Users tab and then click on the "All Users" tab. This directs you to a list of Viewshare users ordered by the date they joined the site. You may scroll or search to find users of interest. To find out more about each user, click on their user name to see their profile.
Once you've located someone you want to connect with, visit their profile page. Add a personalize message in the text box or use the default message provided, and simply click on the green "Invite" button on their profile page. The invitation is sent by email as a connection request. Once approved by the invitee, you are connected. The new connection's user name will show up in the list on your Home Page under "Connections" and also on the "Your Connections" tab accessible from your Home page.
On both the "Data" and "Views" pages you will notice a tab for "Your Connections' Data" or "Your Connections' Views." You can use these tabs, or the "Your Connections" tab on your home page to quickly access you connections' data and views.
The fourth tab at the top right of the Viewshare workspace is the "Messages" tab. This tab is used for managing the messages you send and receive when participating in the Viewshare Community. Any unseen messages will be noted within the text of the tab, for instance "Messages (2)" will mean there are two unseen messages. Clicking on the "Messages" tab will take you to the "Messages" page as depicted in Figure 21.
On the "Messages" page, there are two tabs: one for "Notices" and one for "Invitations."
You can track data files and Collections as they are uploaded by subscribing to the appropriate news feed! See Section 2.9 to learn how to subscribe to both RSS and Atom new feeds to follow new data sets and views uploaded system-wide or by an individual user.