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11.05 How can I work with large data sets or data stored outside of LabArchives?

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LabArchives is a great place to store notes, observations, protocols, references, attachments, and more. Data may be stored outside of LabArchives if the files are large, stored in secure systems, or used so frequently that uploading and downloading is inefficient. If data is stored outside of LabArchives, it is very important to provide a reference or link to data that is stored in another location. Ultimately, links and data in your LabArchives notebook should be organized in a way that you or a colleague can locate the information in the future.  

NOTE: If a link or reference does not work properly, it may be difficult to find the data. It is very important that any link or reference will work for a long time.  

Best Practices for referencing or linking to data stored outside of LabArchives 

  • Provide clear, consistent, meaningful, and descriptive file names and file paths 
    • All files should contain information like project, experiment number, location, researcher, date, and more. 
    • Your entire team should have standardized policies and procedures for the file name and file path. Consider documenting these policies in a formal data management plan. 
  • Include descriptions and metadata like file type, software, file size, and descriptions of the data to improve data retrieval. 
  • Set up policies for renaming, moving, or deleting data stored outside of LabArchives 
    • In some cases, renaming, moving, or deleting a file may prevent someone from viewing the data.  
    • It is generally recommended to avoid renaming or changing the file path for data that is stored outside of LabArchives. 
    • If a file is renamed, moved, or deleted, be sure to update the links in LabArchives.  
  • Capture versioning information 
    • It is important to see how a file may change over time. Some file storage systems will track the revision history or audit trail for a file. If your system does not track this history, consider documenting file versions by the file name.  
  • Know how data ownership and access management impacts the data 
    • If data is stored outside of LabArchives, ensure that the appropriate individuals can access the data.  
    • In some systems, changing a user, system administrator, or owner access will change the link, file path or reference. If this link changes, be sure to update these links in LabArchives. 
  • Ensure long-term compatibility with other systems and operating systems  
    • Not all operating systems support the same file types or file names. As an example, Windows does not support some special characters like / : * ? ” < > or | 

How to reference or link to data that is stored in LabArchives 

All pages, folders, entries, and notebooks in LabArchives have a unique Share URL. Many groups will post a Share URL in other LabArchives notebooks, in email, or in other storage systems. By following the URL, a person that has access to the data will be brought to that information. If someone does not have access to the page, folder, or entry, this URL will not allow them to view the data. 

Share URL’s in LabArchives are maintained if the file is renamed, moved, or edited in LabArchives. To learn more about Share URL’s Click Here.


Provide a reference to a file as a rich text entry on the page 

One of the most efficient ways to document a file path is to add a rich text entry on the page. This rich text entry can contain instructions to access the file, the file path, file name, and additional information about the file. To learn more about rich text entries, Click Here.

You can also create a link within a rich text entry by clicking the “global link” icon. This link can be a LabArchives Share URL or the link can go to another website. To learn more about the linking tool within a rich text entry,Click Here.

Use the Links tool to reference data stored in another cloud-based system (OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, etc.or website 

Most systems can generate a URL or web address that would take the user to a specific file or folder. These URLs can be used in the “Web Address/URL” option in the linking tool. These links are displayed on the right side of an entry and you will be able to click on the link to view this information. To learn more about the linking tool, Click Here.

How to use the Links tool to display a file path 

If data is stored at a specific file path or a shared drive like a network drive, you can include the file path in a link.  

Note: By default, you will not be able to click on this file path to open the file on your computer. For security, many browsers do not support clicking on a link in the browser to open a file on your computer. It is possible to install browser shortcuts or to adjust browser security settings. Be sure to consult your local IT team for advice on browser security settings. 


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