Tutorial 8 | The Admin Menu

Learn how to use the different tools in the Admin menu of your database.

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To begin, watch the video. For more detailed instructions, you can consult the walkthrough. To learn something else, see our full list of tutorials.

Add a New User

When you create a database, you are the only user (other than Heurist designer Dr Ian Johsnon, who is added automatically to every database to provide support). To add more users, go to the ‘Users’ tool in the ‘Admin’ menu. It is good practice to give each user of the database their own account, rather than sharing a login. To add a new user, simply click ‘+ Add new user’ at the top right of the screen:

This will bring up the ‘Add User’ menu. For new users, do make sure to include a password. New users will recieve an email from Heurist providing them a link to the database and also their username and password.

Managing Workgroups

All users should be assigned to ‘workgroups’ in the database. Workgroups are an essential part of Heurist’s ‘permissions’ system. When you add or edit records in the database, you can choose which workgroups are able to view or edit records. Some sensitive or important records (e.g. the project website) may only be editable by Database Adminstrators. Other records may be editable by any user, or just by research assistants. To define such permissions, you first need to assign your users to different workgroups. In the ‘Users’ tool, you can change a particular user’s workgroup membership by clicking on the grey membership icon in the membership column:

While it is possible to add or edit workgroups from the previous screen, you can also gain an overview of all the workgroups in your database from the ‘Workgroups’ tool. You can create a new workgroup by clicking ‘+ Add new group’ in the top right. In the below example, I create a specific workgroup for ‘Research Assistants’.

Managing user permissions

We will cover this in more detail in a later tutorial. For now, I will just direct you to a few of the ways that you can manage users’ permissions in Heurist. In Heurist, user’s permissions are recorded seperately for each record in the database. Each particular record is ‘owned’ by a particular individual or workgroup, can be edited by a particuar individual or workgroup, and can be viewed by particular individuals, by particuar workgroups, or by the public. You can set the permissions for a new record by clicking ‘permission settings’ in the new record pane:

In the ‘Record addition settings’ popup, you can choose who is able to view or edit a particular record. Click ‘Add record’ to create one record with you chosen settings, or click ‘Save settings’ to make your chosen settings the default for all new records.

You can easily alter the permissions for existing records using the ‘Share’ tool in the ‘Explore’ menu. This allows you to change the permissions for selected records, or for all the records in the resultset for your current filter (see Tutorial 4).

Find duplicate records

If you are running a large project, or importing data into Heurist from other sources, it is likely that you will end up with duplicate records. While it is possible to manually merge records using the ‘merge’ tool in the Explore menu, you can also search through the whole database and look for duplicates using the ‘Find duplicate records’ tool in the Admin menu. Choose which record type to check, set how strictly the records should be compared, and choose which fields should be used to compare the records. In the video, I search for Political Parties, comparing them by their Name/Title and Location, and allow up to 5% difference between them. After you click ‘Find duplications’ Heurist will list any possible duplicates on the right of the screen. If you think they are in fact duplicates, you can click ‘merge this group’. If you are certain they are not duplicates, you can click ‘ignore in future’:

Once you click ‘merge’, you will be asked to select a ‘master record’, and then tick the ‘duplicate’ checkbox next to each other record that you think is a duplicate:

On the final screen, you will be asked to pick which data items should be preserved when the records are merged. For example, a Political Party can only have one Name/Title in this database. Which Name/Title should be used in the merged record?

Verify Integrity

As your Heurist database grows, its structure may change, team members may make mistakes, or you may import imperfectly structured data into the database. Unlike many databasing systems, Heurist is quite forgiving, and will allow you to bring imperfect data into the system. As this imperfect data may create problems, however, we provide you with the ‘verify integrity’ tool in the Admin menu, which will scan through your database and identify any problems in the structure of the data. You should use this tool from time to time, to make sure that all your filters work correctly and your data analysis is accurate. As soon as you click on the tool it will conduct the scan, looking for 16 common kinds of error:

If it detects a particular kind of error, simply click on the highlighted heading to open up the correction menu. In this case, some dates in the database are recorded in an ambiguous or inefficient format. Heurist has fixed some of the dates because they could be interpreted easily (e.g. 31-Aug-1945). Others are ambiguous (e.g. is 8/5/2011 the 8th of May 2011 or the 5th of August?). In these ambiguous cases, Heurist will ask you to confirm the date format for particular dates before you click ‘Correct’ and convert them into a standardised format. Like other databasing systems, Heurist prefers the ISO datetime format: YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS.

The other error types will present you with a different correction screen, but the principle is the same: Heurist will try to fix errors automatically where possible, but you may need to provide some input to remove errors.

Next Tutorial: TBC

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