The leaves may be turning yellow in Scotland, and the chilly mornings remind us that the year will soon be drawing to a close, but to the RSpace development team it always feels like springtime – we are continually hatching new features and improvements to help you record your research data in an efficient and enjoyable way. Many of these improvements are suggested by you, so please keep getting in touch with what you’d like to see in RSpace!
In the upcoming 1.47 (due on 18th October) we look forward to Calculation tables – tables to which you can add Excel-style formulae to calculate and update data fields.
We wouldn’t say this is a replacement for Excel but if you are entering numeric data directly into RSpace and want quick inline calculations it’s a good choice.
If you spend some time setting up a table like this, and want to share it with your colleagues, then you could create a document containing a table, and share it with your group. People can then create Snippets from the table to insert and use the table in their own documents wherever they like.
As with other tables you can download a Calculations Table in CSV format for importing into Excel at a later date.
One of the great advantages of an ELN over a paper notebook is the ability to link to and cross-reference documents and data. RSpace has supported linking documents from the start, but you can now see which documents are referencing your current document – enabling you to easily traverse your document graph in both directions:
We’ve also been making some improvements to export – you can now export all search hits to XML or HTML, even if they are attachment files. Before 1.47, you could only export RSpace documents, not specifically attachments. Export is also now available from the API – several people have asked us how to do automated exports from our free Community edition, and the API enables this. This is explained in depth in our API guide. You can also export attachments directly from the Gallery.
Finally, we’re combing through the user interface seeking for ways you can do more with fewer clicks and actions. For example, creating a series of nested folders was actually quite laborious: create a folder, open it, create a new folder etc. You can now create multiple folders at once just by typing a path, e.g. ‘protocols/pcr/sequencing’ and the folders will be created in one go. You can expect more of these productivity shortcuts in future releases.
As ever, thanks to all our users for feedback, it’s nice to hear what we’re doing right as well as where we can improve.