Help

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about ATRAC. If you can't find an answer to your question, please email atrac.ncdc@noaa.gov.

Why do I need to login?

All users must login to enter information for a project. A login session allows users to effectively manage the projects associated with their account. Users should provide sufficient information in an account profile to accurately verify user identity.

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I've forgotten my password. How do I reset it or get a new one?

Go to the Password Reset page. Enter the email address associated with your ATRAC user account, and a temporary password will be sent to that address. You will be prompted to change your password upon logging in using the temporary password.

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I created a user account. Now what?

Use the Project Registration page to start a new project and set its view and edit permissions. Once the project has been created, users can access forms for the Request to Archive, Submission Agreement, and ISO Metadata. While logged in, users can also view "Private" projects associated with their user account on the Search Projects pages.

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Which data theme should I select for archiving my data?

Selection of the appropriate data theme should be based on the type of data being submitted. See the NCEI website for more information. If you are still unsure about your data theme, select "Other/Unknown" and NCEI will work with you to identify the appropriate theme.

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How long does it take to get my data archived?

NCEI archive representatives will work with you to establish an optimal schedule for the project. All new data archiving requests must first be approved by NCEI before the data can be archived. The time it takes to complete this process varies on the complexity of the project and the amount of other projects being worked at the same time. Less complex projects may take less time than projects involving large programs or campaigns, high data volume, changes in stakeholder needs, etc.

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How do collaborators know they've been added to an ATRAC project?

Collaborators with an ATRAC account will receive an email notifying them that they've been added to a given project.

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Can any collaborator add others?

Yes, if a collaborator has been given "edit" access, they have editing privileges on the project. They can add other collaborators, edit forms, and update account information. If a user has only been given "view" access, they are limited to only reviewing and reading information--they cannot change any information concerning the project.

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How do I know if someone has an ATRAC account?

There is no way for users to search for other registered users in the ATRAC system. If a user wants to add a collaborator, but is unsure of the collaborator's registration status, the only way to find out is to add the person's email address to the list of collaborators in the project registration form. If the email address exists in the system, the person will be successfully added as a collaborator. Otherwise, ATRAC will return an error message. New users can create an account on the User Registration page.

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Where's my project? (It's not in "Search Projects")

There are several possible reasons for this:

  • Projects that are metadata-only (not for data archiving) do not show up in the Search Projects page.
  • If a project is intended for data archiving, then a Request to Archive or ISO Metadata form must be "Submitted" before the project will show up in the Search Projects page; otherwise it is only visible in the Edit Projects view. If a form needs to be reviewed by others, we recommend sharing the project link (URL of the Project Summary page via the hyperlink in the project's title) to ensure that collaborators can find the project.
  • If you have edit permission, ensure that the project is set to the correct privacy level. Projects set as "Private" can only be viewed by the project owner and collaborators after logging in to ATRAC. Ensure that all stakeholders for private projects have at least view permissions set on the project's Project Registration page. "Public" projects are viewable to any user with no login required.
  • You may need to use different search criteria to find your project in the Search Projects page. Several search criteria are available on the Project Search page, and zero to any number of the criteria can be used to do a search. Only select/enter criteria that positively match the wanted project(s). It is best to leave criteria empty if unknown or uncertain or if unable to find your project(s). Note that multiple organization names exist for some providers depending on what name was used for creating a project.
  • If you still can't find your project please email atrac.ncdc@noaa.gov.
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Where is the ISO metadata? I do not see the ISO metadata even though the project is set as "Public".

All forms, including the ISO Metadata, must first be "Submitted" before a link to that form will be displayed on the project's Project Summary page. Public users can access the Project Summary page via the hyperlink in the project's title. The latest validated version of the form is used for the link in the Project Tasks table on this page. Note that only projects for archiving data are visible in the Search Projects pages.

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Are projects for metadata-only (not for data archiving) always set as "Private"?

Yes, if you select the option indicating you are not archiving data, then the project is always "Private". Metadata-only projects can only be viewed by the project creator and those who have been given explicit edit permission on the Project Registration page.

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How do I create metadata for an NCEI dataset when the dataset is already archived?

ATRAC offers the option to use the ISO Metadata form for a project separate from the process of archiving data. This is helpful if the data are not intended to be archived or the data are already archived at NCEI. Note that NCEI archive representatives only have default access to projects set for archiving data. Collaborators, including NCEI archive representatives, must be added on the project's Project Registration page if the "not for archiving" option is selected. The intent to archive data can be changed for a project at any time. Once a "not for archiving" project is created, you can select the ISO Metadata form and complete an ISO compliant metadata record separate from the archiving process, with or without collaborators. Please note that if you want an NCEI archive representative to collaborate in any way, they will need to be added as a collaborator.

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I already have an ISO metadata record, but I need to edit it. Can ATRAC import/upload external metadata XML files for editing?

No. ATRAC is used to create new metadata only. Please note that although existing XML records cannot be imported, users can import metadata from other existing ATRAC projects.

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How long does it take to fill out a metadata record in ATRAC?

The time varies depending on the level of detail and complexity of a dataset. Although every dataset is different, many of our users can complete a record in an hour or less.

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What should I do if a question is required in an ATRAC form but the answer is not known or not applicable?

Answer questions to the best of your ability and indicate where the information is not known or applicable. In some cases, placeholder values are acceptable for the purpose of successfully submitting the form. Users can return to a form at a later time to add new information as needed.

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I have multiple projects to create, do I really need to enter in all this information again?

No! ATRAC gives you the ability to import information from other "Public" projects or projects associated with your account. In fact, any form can be "pre-populated" with imported information. Just create your new project, go to the Project Summary page of the new project and click "Document Import" on the right-hand sidebar. Select the project you want to import data from, and ATRAC will handle the rest.

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Can ATRAC be used to create metadata for closed or restricted datasets?

Yes! Using ATRAC to create metadata does not mean that data needs to be submitted to NCEI or made public. Enter your information as you normally would, but be sure to set Access and Use Constraints (Questions #16 and #17 in the Identification Tab of the metadata form) to describe the restrictions for the dataset.

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Where can I include dataset documentation in the ISO Metadata form?

There are a few options for specifying documentation that is part of the dataset's collection. Algorithm and processing documents can be cited in the Reference Document question (#3 on the Lineage tab). General documentation that's online can be described as links in the Distribution question (#1 on the Access tab). Alternatively, if the reference document or resource is outside the dataset's collection, such as another related dataset or published paper, then use the Associated Resources question (#18 on the Identification tab).

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How do I complete the Distribution question in the ISO Metadata form if the data are not online?

Provide a link in the URL field to a service group who can assist users with accessing the data offline. Select "Offline Access" for the Distribution Function.

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What happens to the metadata after I submit the ISO Metadata form? How does it get published?

ATRAC is not intended for metadata storage or publishing. It is a user-friendly application and collaboration space for creating ISO metadata. The metadata records in ATRAC are intended to be exported to an appropriate location based on the user and host organization. NCEI reviews its metadata before moving it to a controlled metadata repository from where it's published for harvesting by federal discovery catalogs.

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