How data may be submitted

Data may be contributed to the DateView database in two ways:
  • Enter individual records from within the DateView interface,
  • Offline, by submitting compilations as Microsoft Access database tables or as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.
The first technique is the most robust in that it ensures that all referential integrity links are correct. This is most appropriate for small data sets. If you wish to contribute data in this way, you will need to email me your USERID so that I can give you permission to modify and insert records.

The second technique is more convenient and faster for large data sets but requires more care from both the data compiler and the database administrator to ensure that there are no conflicts with data already in DateView. Compilers will need to ensure that values entered in the spreadsheets are the same as referential integrity values already in the database (or will need to organise for new key values to be added). Users may download spreadsheet summaries of the main lookup tables within DateView but a number of these are provided below for convenience. The most up-to-date values will, however, only be available direct from DateView. A main spreadsheet file, with columns suitable for most compilations, and a Microsoft Access database file are also provided below.

Of the two offline compilation methods, the Microsoft Access approach should be used whenever possible as it allows the compiler to check the integrity of the data during data capture. If necessary, lookup values may be downloaded from DateView and imported into the Access tables to ensure compatibility with existing records.

Compilers who intend to use both the StratDB and DateView databases should first compile the unit names and basic information in StratDB and then export the names and unique ID's to DateView, then download the unit names and import them to the MS Access DateView database. In this way, associations between the two databases will be automatic.

Main Submission Tables and Files

Lookup Values

Using the MS Access database to compile data

It is relatively easy to compile data in the provided MS Access database but this approach does assume that you know your way around the program as one needs to work with individual tables and queries. No special interface has been created because users needing such an interface are expected to rather use the online web interface for DateView. If you are not sure of the relevance of some of the fields in the MS Access database, it may be useful running a few queries in DateView first and investigating values used for similar information.

It is often useful to change some of the default values for certain fields from the "design view" for specific tables so as to reduce the amount of typing needed. This is particularly useful if one person is compiling data for a single country in a given continent. Other fields which are usefully set as defaults in certain tables are IsotopeSystem and MaterialAbr

There is a logical sequence in which new data ought to be entered so as to avoid having to jump between tables and refresh data sets so as to have appropriate lookup values available. This sequence of activity is outlined below:
  • Add your DateView userid to table USERS and make it the default userid for table ISOVALID.
  • Create a list of unique RecordID values in the table RECORDIDS. These will later be modified so as to avoid conflicts with records already in DateView.
  • Add the details for the source of the information being compiled into table SOURCELISTA. If the source reference already exists in DateView or StratDB, this value may be added. Alternatively, choose some arbitrary integer ID and this will be chnged as necessary prior to data importing to DateView.
  • Add sample names and locality information in table SMPLOC. If there is any chance that the sample number may conflict with another sample (quite likely for integer numbers or short strings), append additional characters to ensure that the sample number will be unique when added to DateView. The original sample name may be entered in the OriginalNo field. Latitude and Longitude should be in decimal degrees (positive north and east, negative south and west) and be based on the WGS84 datum. Elevation, if recorded, should be in metres.
  • Add the lithostratigraphic unit names in table SUITE with arbitrary interger Unit ID values. If you know that a unit already exists in DateView, use the unique value from DateView.
  • Ensure that the laboratory at which the analyses were done is included in table LABORATORIES. If the laboratory and its ID are not already in DateView, please email the database administrator and ask to have it added to DateView.
  • Now one is ready to start compiling summary data such as individual ages, etc in table ISORGR30. Each record must be associated with a unique RecordID and link to fields such as country, material analysed, simple interpretation, etc. To avoid problems introduced by different relational database management systems storing floating point numbers in different ways, users are expected to multiply ages and age uncertainties by 1000 and truncate them for storage as integers in fields IAGE, IAGEPERROR (95% confidence plus error) and IAGEMERROR (95% confidence minus error). The units used for the original ages may be either Ma (for most geological samples), ka (mostly archaeological or some young geological samples) and BP for young archaeological samples.
  • Define links between the individual data records and their source references in table SOURCEA.
  • Add statistical information in table ISOSTATISTICS for each record.
  • Add analytical laboratory information in table ISOLAB.
  • If the age is based on regression with a second relevant intercept, add this other intercept value in ISOOTHER.
  • If there are initial ratios, mu, gamma or epsilon values associated with the records, add these in table ISOINIT.
  • If some of your data are to be classified as confidential, add an appropriate value in table FORLIST. If all are to use this value make it the default value in table ISOFOR. When all data are compiled, run query INSERTISOFOR.
  • Make your UserID the default value for the DoneBy field in table ISOVALID. Run the query INSERTISOVALID.

Your data are now ready to submit to the DateView database administrator for uploading to DateView. He will interact with you to check that all ID values are appropriate for the online database and do some basic data integrity checks prior to uploading the data, at which point you will be asked to check the new records in DateView.

Raw Isotope Data

It is also possible to compile raw isotope data in DateView. Users wishing to do this should email me for specific instructions.

The layout in Excel spreadsheets for raw data is up to the user except that variables are expected in columns with a separate row for each sample aliquot analysis. A separate 'data definitions' spreadsheet needs to be compiled, linking specific variable ID values to the columns in which the data are stored. The variable ID values may be downloaded from the lookups section of DateView and example spreadsheets are available from the database administrator.

These raw data are used in various diagrams and recalculations in DateView; in StratDB, a lithostratigraphy unit database which also draws on information from DateView and in DepIso, a database for Pb and S isotope data for ore deposits. At this stage, detrital zircon U-Pb, Lu-Hf and O isotope data may be interrogated in DateView (for individual or multiple samples) and in StratDB (for multiple lithostratigraphic units). StratDB allows one to create a new form of probability distribution graph which illustrates grain age relative to deposition age while still capturing the essence of where major probability peaks occur.

If the ages for major peaks in probability distributions have been captured in DateView as summary detrital ages, it is also possible to extract all matching ages from selected regions from the DateView database, so obtaining a geospatial list of potential provenence sources which may then be plotted offline in a GIS package.

Any Other Issues?

If you are not sure of anything, please contact Bruce Eglington. It is much easier to sort it out at the beginning of a compilation than to make changes later.