Use the archive
Setting up the archive
Dinspector does not use a database for storing the object files. They are stored as plain files on a regular file system, but the built in archive functionality provides the necessary level of organisation and convenient access. All you need to provide is an empty folder on a regular file server or any other accessible file system. Each user then enters this folder location into her personal settings. After this is done the archive is ready for use:
With the organiser open:
- Click the Settings button.
- Click the Archive folder button.
- Enter or select the folder to use for the archive, and click OK.
The importance of making frequent backups
One of the main benefits of storing information digitally is that it does not degrade the way analogue information does. This means that it can be kept intact more or less forever. But of course, there is always the risk of failure to the media on which the data is kept. And as is always the case with computer systems, you never know when you might come upon a software bug or a hardware failure. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you have routines in place for making frequent backups of all important data in your computing environment, and that of course includes all valuable documentation regarding your collections.
Since the archive contents is stored in a regular folder on a regular file system, it can easily be included in any backup routines already in place at your workplace. Please make sure that this folder is being backed up frequently in a form which is archivally stable. The importance of this can not be stressed enough.
Get files from the archive
Before you can edit an object file which is stored in the archive, you must check it out – this creates a copy of the file in your workspace. A lock will be put on the file in the archive, preventing anyone else from making any changes to it until you are finished. It is of course possible to override this lock, but anyone trying to check out a file which you have already checked out will be presented with a warning telling them that the file has been locked and that they probably should not touch it.
You check out files using the Archive tab in the organiser. Select the files you want to work with from the list, and then click the Check out button. This will copy the files to your workspace and lock them in the archive. You are now free to make any changes you wish to the files and then check them back in when you are done.
It is also possible to open and look at files stored in the archive without first checking them out, but you will then not be allowed to make any changes to them. Just select one or more files from the list and click the Peek button, and they will open in the editor in read-only mode.
Return files to the archive
After you have finished editing an object file, or when you have created a new object file, you should do a check in. This will update the archive with your changes, and also remove the lock on the file. In your Workspace object files tab, select one or more files and click the Check in button. This will move the files from your workspace back into the archive and remove the locks. If you just want to store your work so far in the archive but then keep working with a file on your computer, tick the check-box labelled Keep before clicking Proceed. This copies the file with your changes to the archive, but also leaves the existing copy in your workspace and keeps the lock in place. In essence, it is like checking in the file and then immediately checking it out again.
Undo changes made to a file
If you have checked out an object file and made changes to it, but then decide to throw away your changes without checking the file back in, just select the file in the Workspace object files tab and click the Delete button. When asked if you want to unlock the file in the archive, you will probably want to do that so that it is available for someone else to check out.