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Datastore Fields

Key Question screen capture

If you just created a new Datastore, when you go to add fields, the first thing you'll see is a "Key Question" option. The key question should be a defining characteristic of the record. If you are creating a collection of stories, the key question might be the story title, or if you are creating a database of presentations, you might use the presentation title or the presenter's name.

The key question field will always show up as a link on your reports. The link will go to the "detailed report." The detailed report is the final report, where the bulk of the individual record's fields would be displayed. In our presentation example, the detailed report would show all of the details of the presentation rather than just the title and presenter name.

Changing the Key Question

Clicking on the linked words, "Key Question," will allow you to change it to something more useful. We've changed "Key Question" to "Presenter Name" in the example. The entry instructions can be used if multiple users will be updating the Datastore. The instructions will appear on the data entry page.

Creating a new field

Click "Add Field" from the blue sub-navigation menu to add a new field to the Datastore. Following with the current example, we'll add a field for presentation title. Since many of our presentations have long, long names, we'll use the long text option.

Newly added field

There's our field! Fantastic. Let's add a few more. While we do that, take a look at the definitions of each field type.

  • Short Text (less than 100 characters): This field type is perfect for names and other short bits of information. It does not use the text editor (the text box that features formatting buttons).
  • Long Text (more than 100 characters): For longer amounts of text, use this option, such as abstracts, news articles, etc. A text editor is included at no extra charge!
  • Yes/No Question: This field type was pivotal in the old version of the Datastore. It is likely going to be pulled out of the list and sacked any day, so please refrain from using it.
  • Dropdown List: Similar to the multiple radio option, the dropdown list will allow you to select one option from many. Use the dropdown list if you have many, many options. The multiple radio field type is better for a few. (See category options below for more details.)
  • Multiple Check (multiple choices): This field type is excellent for creating categories in your Datastore. It will allow you to "tag" a record with specific information. Later, you can create a report that will be based on these tags and group your records accordingly. (See category options below for more details.)
  • Multiple Radio (one choice): This is like multiple check, except it will allow only one choice per item. It is good for gather information into specific groups that will not cross-over each other. For example, you might have a Datastore that features events, articles and faqs. These different types of content would never cross over. (See category options below for more details.)
  • Autonumbered Sort: Creates a unique number for each record. Helpful for identifying your data if you plan to have many records.
  • ANR Directory: This field type will create a link to the directory information for any ANR personnel. Enter the email address for the person, and the Datastore will add a link to the person's profile. Be sure to use the same email address as is listed in the directory, or the link will not work!

Category Options

Category options

In the screen shot you can see how a dropdown, multiple check and multiple radio field type gets created.


These field types will allow you to create the categories (options) that will be displayed for data entry. You can also set a secondary report link here. Using our presentation database example, you might organize your presentations into themes. The themes would display in one report, and when the user clicks on a theme, he or she would go to a secondary report that lists the presentation titles and authors that are identified by that theme. Beyond this, the user can click the "Presenter Name" to see the final detailed report.

Updating Options

The (Adv) link will allow you to change all previous data for an option. For example, if Alameda suddenly became Alamode, changing it just on the field edit page would not change all of the data tagged with Alameda. In order to update this data, you would click on (Adv) and change the name there. For historic data, sometimes it's best *not* to update all the old data. If you are altering a category yearly, you may only want new data to use the new category.

Adding more Options

You can add as many options/categories as you need. The default is five, but you can add five more by clicking on the button. Any unused options will not appear on the field when entering data.


The Datastore uses numbers to provide you with the ability to sort the options in your field. You can also check the reverse sorting box to quickly swap the order.

Field List

Picture of created fields

We've created a few fields based on our presentation Datastore example. These can be sorted using the arrows or by drag 'n drop. The "Presentation File" example uses a short text field type. We will just be entering file codes into it, so it will be less than 100 characters!

Seems like we're ready to enter some data.