Here you can find answers to some frequently asked questions.

Why is it not possible to add custom types with a free text entry field the same way it is possible with numbers for value types?

Tag: design decision

A free text entry field would lead to lots of unstructured data. Unstructured data can not be processed automatically and would result in it not being presented nor searchable in the OpenAtlas system as well as in a frontend that presents your data. Therefore, we made the decision, not to include free text types into the OpenAtlas system. Solutions to this problem are very case specific, but you could:

  • use the already provided description fields to enter any type of free text (keep in mind that this also comes with restrictions on how to present this data in a frontend)

  • create a new tree of project specific types for as many cases as possible and structure your data with them – for a step by step tutorial how to create new types, click here.

We are more than happy to help you find a solution tailored to your project’s specific needs, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any additional questions on this topic.

How can I enter professions into the OpenAtlas system?

Tag: model

A profession is not entered via a type as a lot of other information you will put into the database. You can enter a person’s profession by linking them to a group. This group consists of people with the same profession. Say you want to enter our lead developer Alex into the database: create a group named ‘OpenAtlas’ and connect him to that group in the respective form. Here you can also pick the role he has in that group from a list of types. For a more detailed tutorial on how to enter professions, have a look here.

Why can’t longer texts be formatted?

Tag: design decision

For formatting longer texts, e.g. entity descriptions, only linebreaks can be used. The main reason for not implementing formatting systems like HTML or Markdown for e.g. bold font, underline, lists and similar is that data may be used by other systems via the API, and these systems are not necessarily able to handle these formats.

Another reason is that these formats might change over time. All in all it is more important for us that acquired data is as interoperable, as long as possible.

Of course the situation is different for e.g. presentation sites for OpenAtlas data. There it would be possible to e.g. add manual formatted texts where needed.