Explore the P I Assist Overview Poster
Scheduled Release Date: August, 2005
P I Assist, helps PI's, researchers, and research assistants collect information about experiments (the metadata ... design, hypotheses,...) along with raw data and analytical results. It creates an archive including a document that describes the experiment in detail, and the related support data, and result files. The document is currently in HTML and can be placed on the Internet thus providing access to the linked data and other files.
P I Assist is effectively a document based knowledge management application. It is part of a larger system that will house a searchable archive of experiment descriptions.
We've designed P I Assist so that front line researchers get immediate benefits in return for marginal additional effort on their part. Major benefits accrue to research organizations in terms of capturing corporate knowledge, protecting data assets, facilitating data audits, sharing experimental designs and results within and between organizations, and support for identifying and sharing best practices.
A sample archive can be viewed at http://www.NTT.ca/pia/PIAsample.htm
The first eight pages of the PI Assist manual (2 MB) describe how it is used and why it is valuable for researchers and research and funding organizations.
The complete help file (9 MB) can be viewed at http://www.NTT.ca/pia/PIAhelp.chmA brief introduction to how PI Assist works and how it can be easily extended and customized is provided here.
Beta-2 includes a range of new features that add significant functionality and improve usability. These include:
1) Full on-line context-sensitive help. This is a response to the “What am I supposed to enter here?” problem. The help will deal both with the high level sections and the bottom level editing boxes.
2) Improved highlighting. This is in response to the “Where am I in the document?” question.
3) More control over the user interface layout.
4) More control over the tree view layout. As you browse deeper into the document, the tree view gets longer and makes navigation more difficult. A new feature will automatically reduce the number of levels displayed in other than the current branch.
5) Auto-save and automatic backup.
6) Find and Find Next … to take you to the next editor containing the search text.
7) Document creation in the archive subdirectory. This is for those using PI Assist for developing new experiments as for simply documenting ones that have been completed.
8) Most importantly, a concept based navigation system. This addresses the “I want to say something about physiology, but where is that section in the document?” question. This was a major irritant during the field test. We are introducing a concept index as an optional alternative to the tree view. This way we can use a number of different entries (e.g., Files – Results, Result Data, Data Files, etc.,) to take you to the same location.
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