E-DataAid supports editing of the values within a data file, but does not function exactly like other spreadsheet applications. Specifically, due to the hierarchical nature of experimental data, E- DataAid structures the spreadsheet to maintain the hierarchical relationship between data collected at higher and lower levels (e.g., block level, trial level, etc).
Data from one level in an experiment is hierarchically related to the data in other levels. Higher level data is shared by many trials (e.g., the same subject number applies to all trials run by that subject). However, spreadsheets require a flat grid format. Thus, because the rows in E- DataAid’s spreadsheet represent the lowest level of data in the data file, E-DataAid must repeat the data values collected for higher levels down many rows of the spreadsheet.
In order to maintain the hierarchical nature of the data while displaying in flat grid format, E- DataAid creates pointers from the individual cells to the piece of data they display. Cells containing lower level data (e.g., trial level data) may share upper level data (e.g., block or session level data), such that many cells are pointing to the same piece of data. For this reason, when an individual cell is edited, all other cells pointing to the piece of edited data will automatically be modified when the new value is accepted in the edited cell.
In addition, to help preserve the integrity of the data, E-DataAid keeps an audit trail of any modifications made to a file. For each modification to a file, a comment describing the modification is written as an annotation to the file. When a value is edited, the application stores the annotation with the session containing the modified value, updates the session’s modified date, and updates the file’s modified date.
E-DataAid allows modification of the experiment name, subject or session number, individual cell values, variable names, or level names. In addition, variables may be added, annotations may be created, and text may be added to existing annotations. If a cell cannot be edited, it will appear in gray, and the cursor cannot be placed in the cell. Any cell in a column displaying level numbers for any level below the session level will be read-only (i.e., block numbers, trial numbers, etc.). Because of the hierarchical nature of experiment data, the application does not allow these cells to be edited. Any cell in a column on which an Administrator places a security restriction will also be read-only.
Each modification writes an annotation describing the modification to the data file. The image below illustrates an Annotations record for a file containing a sequence of file merges, as well as a data alteration (i.e., changing the subject number).
For each value modified, the application stores an annotation with the session that contains the modified value, and updates the session’s modified date. All other annotations are stored globally in the data file. All modifications result in the updating of the file’s modified date.
In the spreadsheet, all data alterations, including edits to a cell value or a variable name, are displayed in color. By default, data alterations are displayed in red.
The display color for data alterations may be changed to blue or green by using the Options command in the View menu. Data alterations result in the marking of the file as containing data alterations.