Using the PIC Cloud is easy! There are 3 simple steps involved:
- Submit your data to the Cloud, and
- Retrieve any data from the Cloud, and/or
- Subscribe to the site syndication service to receive notification of uploaded datasets.
1. Submit your data to the cloud
Before you can submit data to the Cloud you need to register with the site. Registration is necessary because only a data submitter can delete his/her own records and we therefore need a mechanism for identifying data submitters.
Once registered, you will be asked to "login" if you intend to submit data to the Cloud (note that you don't have to be registered if you simply want to browse existing Cloud content).
Use the "Submit Data" navigation button on the left-hand menu bar to locate the data submission page. Before being directed to this page you will be asked to "Login" using your registered user name and password.
To upload and deposit your data files to the Cloud you will be required to provide a minimal set of metadata. After supplying the necessary metadata you can upload up to 10 files (datasets and associated documentation) each with a maximum of 20Mb in size. These files should be located on your hard-drive, or an attached network server. By clicking the "choose file" button to the right of the file upload entry field you will be given the opportunity to locate and then attach the desired file.
Basic form field validation takes place once you hit the "submit" button so you may be prompted to correct mistakes detected in the metadata entries before being allowed to continue. If there are no obvious errors your files and metadata will be uploaded to the Cloud.
Your datasets, files and metadata are all kept together in a PIC Cloud Package on the Cloud. The metadata associated with your files, plus some other hidden metadata generated by the system is also then uploaded to the ANDS Australian Research Data metadata collections system and eventually made public so that it is available for trawling by search engines.
Note that you can't edit submitted data packages in the Cloud once they have been committed by the site moderator, however, you can edit any of your own records that are tagged as "pending commitment" (i.e. records submitted by you but which are not yet classed as published). Likewise, you can delete any of your own records when they are submitted and tagged as "pending commitment", but not once they have been "published". All submitted datasets are moderated by an administrator prior to publication to help maintain the quality of submitted data packages and to minimise misuse of the site.
2. Retrieve any data from the Cloud.
There are two ways to retrieve data from the Cloud -- using this PIC Cloud web site and by using the Australian Research Data metadata system (link available from the PIC site).
(a) PIC Cloud Website Option: Use the "Retrieve Data" navigation button on the left-hand menu bar to locate the data search and retrieval page.
You are presented with several search options (by naming a data submitter; by country; by keyword(s); by access rights and by dataset location keyword). Choose the option that best suits you and use the "submit" button to perform the search.
Once the search has been performed you will be presented with a new page of results that match your search criteria. By clicking on the Dataset Title hyperlink you will be able to download individual data packages (note: a data package consists of the script for the access rights in the form of a PIC badge, a metadata record and all associated files).
(b) Research Data Australia: The ANDS system available at http://services.ands.org.au/home/orca/rda/index.php has its own search and retrieval interface. Instructions for using this interface can be found here
(c) ANDS Online Services Registry: Metadata and data can be retrieved from the Cloud via a web service API published by ANDS. Whilst this API operates on the metadata published from the Cloud that resides in the ANDS system, it is effectively an API that can be used to retrieve data placed into the PIC Cloud.
3. Subscription Service.
All submitted data packages on the site are linked to an Atom subscription syndication service. You can subscribe to this service by clicking on the "Atom Feed" button on the navigation menu.
Because each submitted data package is tagged with at least one GCMD keyword, you can elect to receive notifications only when datasets tagged with a particular topic is uploaded to the site. In this case you must use the GCMD keyword selector tool to identify your topics of interest.
Alternatively you can elect to receive notifications when any data is uploaded, in which case no specific keywords need to be selected and instead you simply "subscribe" to the service.