Knowledge Base Article

Introduction to Datasets

Datasets are tables of data that store information, and they have been in use for a long time.  The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus is a table of data from ancient Egypt!  However, you and I bump into tables of data all the time.  Sometimes these are as simple as the multiplication tables we learned at school or tables of information at the back of a reference book.  But more and more, datasets contain large quantities of data that is compiled and updated with time.  These are things like the pricing history of commodities (see diagrams for 2x4 Lumber pricing), or simply lists of dates, times and names of visitors to a place.  Whatever their use, datasets are powerful tools for keeping track of data. 2x4Pricing.png                             Lumber Pricing History in U.S. dollars
In vCalc, we have created a mechanism for people to capture information in datasets and the means for that information to be used in equations and calculators.  While some datasets may be small and easy, many are large and complex to compile.  That is why vCalc lets individuals, groups and large institutions enter, upload and document datasets in one convenient place for use by the general public.  Nonetheless, vCalc also allows you to create private datasets that only you can see, or that can be seen by those with whom you specifically share them.  In this way, you can keep your private or proprietary data to yourself and still use the power of vCalc.

Datasets in vCalc

When you can create a Dataset in vCalc, your data automatically inherits numerous powerful attributes:

  • Datasets you create in vCalc are stored on the cloud and available to you any time on the web.
  • Information in your datasets is available to use in your vCalc equations and constants.
  • Dataset information can be uploaded and downloaded to and from vCalc in coma separated (.csv) files like those used in most spreadsheets.
  • Dataset information can be graphed.
  • Your datasets are instantly deployed in an automatically generated wiki page and mobile library.
  • Your dataset wiki pages are a great place to document your datasets with descriptions, graphics and links to related items.
  • You can share your datasets with your social network (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) .
  • You can duplicate the public datasets created by others and start with their data and/or the structure (names etc) of their datasets
  • You can build vCalc Notifications that will send automatic e-mails to you when new values are entered or uploaded to the dataset that meet your criteria (e.g. e-mail me if player_name="Johny", stat_name=”batting average” and stat_value >=0.300).

The following articles are meant to help you build your own datasets in vCalc.

Ground Rules and Guidelines

Before you create your own datasets, there are some ground rules:

  •  All vCalc content, including datasets, must comply with vCalc’s Terms of Use.
  • All vCalc content created by you is private and only viewable by you or a vCalc system administrator unless you choose to share it with other vCalc colleagues or with the general public.
     vCalc is designed to help people.  With your help, powerful tools can be made for the public.  With this in mind, we encourage you to do the following:
  • Make datasets that are useful to you, but share them whenever possible.
  • Feel free to copy the work of others and customize it to your needs.
  • Consider publishing your work (documenting it) in as many languages as you speak.  It’s a small world on the Internet and you’ll be helping people who otherwise may never get help.
    Last thing, vCalc is here to help!  If you have questions or need assistance, click on “Contact US” link and let us know how we can help.