Groups can be used to bring together users and their documents. In RSpace, the basic group concept is the LabGroup, which is a reflection of  the real-world research lab, with a Principal Investigator (PI) as the main motivator and central figure around whom the group is based, with a collaborative group operating, interacting and sharing privately under the group umbrella. While groups will naturally arise from existing lab organisations, groups can be created for any subset of users. But, a group must have a PI as the main point of contact, and the PI will always have administrative authority over the group and can, for example see all of the group’s work, where other group members must explicitly share with individuals or with the group to view or edit each other’s work.

While users can easily share with any individual, being in a LabGroup creates convenient mechanisms for collaboration: instant sharing with all of the group, for example, or easily accessing individuals in your group through your Group page.

Anyone can create a LabGroup, and they can either set themselves as PI for the group or invite another user to be PI (with the LabGroup only being created when the invitation is accepted). Anyone creating a group but not making themselves PI of the group will have Lab Admin status within the group. Users can be invited to be LabGroup members during the process of creating the group, or can be invited later from the group’s page in My RSpace > My Lab Groups. Individuals who are not yet RSpace users can also be invited to join the group – they will be sent invitations by email and can join the group once they sign up and log in.

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A LabGroup member may have one of three roles: the required PI, Lab Admin or User. PIs have permission to view all documents owned by members of the group and may administer the group; Lab Admins can be appointed by the PI, and  have permission to administer the group (e.g., add/ remove group members), but not view all content pertaining to the group. Users have no administrative function, but benefit from the ease of sharing and communication in the LabGroup environment.

Sharing with a Group

When sharing a document or documents within a group, you can choose to share with one or more entire groups at once, with any selected individuals from within those groups, or with combinations of whole groups and selected other individuals. In addition to sharing documents with other users within their group, users can can also share documents with individuals outside of groups via an email contact, which then requires the invitation to be accepted before sharing occurs.

The groups you are able to share with are available as selectable options in the ‘Share’ dialog’s Share with Groups block; clicking the Share with Users bar hides the Groups block and opens a new area again showing individual selectable options for each user you are in a group with. Choosing any of the available options in either of these blocks, then clicking ’Share’ immediately shares the selected document(s) with the selected groups or users, and permissions to read or edit are set on each selection.

This multiple selection scope extends in a third block (labelled Share with Others) to include sharing with Groups you are not a member of, and email invitations offering to share with non-group individuals, both RSpace users and not. To select a group you are not a member of, start typing in the box and select the group when it appears in the autocomplete – you can browse all groups in the Directory to find groups you might want to share with. Find or enter any email for the individual, and add a comma and space to start adding another. Remember, these email invites are only shared once the recipient accepts.

While permissions are set in each group or individual share, these can be altered later if required in the ‘Manage Shared Records’ section of My RSpace. Although only one block is visible to enter share options at any time, the targets entered across all three blocks will all be applied when the ‘Share’ button at the bottom of the dialog is clicked.

To share a document:
  1. In the Workspace view, select the checkbox of one or more documents.
  2. In the options which appear above the documents table, click ‘Share’
  3. Select the group(s) or individual(s) you want to share with, and set permissions for each in the pop-up dialog.
  4. When all desired sharing targets are selected, click the ‘Share’ button.

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The shared documents will be marked with a blue ‘Shared’ icon in the main Workspace, and will appear in the ‘Shared’ folder under the appropriate group or individual folder. Any shares you have created can also be ‘Unshared’, again in the Manage Shared Records’.