Data Management With Metadata
Using the Results Matrix Viewer and Data Table Viewer gives you unique ways of making the data comparisons required to make fast and accurate decisions based on your data.
However, this makes one critical assumption, that you can find your data.
Metadata, Metadata, Metadata!
That is where metadata comes in. Metadata is the data about your data. Metadata tells the rest of the story by providing the user-definable details to help make sense of the processed data.
Metadata includes information that can be used in the legend of the graph to distinguish one trace from another and it gives you attributes that can be used to search for your data. You can use as many or as few fields that make sense for the type of measurements and processing you are doing.
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Metadata can be attributes such as which test cell was used, who took the data, what was the speed of the motor, what was the temperature of the environment and so on. These fields are user definable.
Metadata is not a new concept. We all use at least one metadata field every time we save a document or a PowerPoint® presentation, that is the file name. We typically try to be creative and give the file a name that will be obvious to us in the future when we look for it and we place it in a folder that we will certainly remember. If you are anything like me, this one metadata field is just not enough. I spend far more time than I should looking for files, opening and closing presentations until I find what I want.
This is also how we treat our data. Using metadata, we now have access to unlimited numbers of attributes that we can use to help us find the correct data when we need it. Why is this important? Because data has life after the test is complete. You may need to find a set of measurements that you took yesterday, or last week or even last year. If you spend a lot of time hunting for your data or, worse still, cannot find the data and have to re-measure, that is frustrating. This frustration may not occur every day, but when it does it feels awful.
Metadata can help save you from this pain. Documenting your data with attributes you have identified as important for using in Legends and tables, or for searching, makes your valuable data even more valuable.
We were told by one customer that without metadata, the data is useless. This is a very strong statement but one I absolutely agree with. After years of being a test engineer, I can recognize this struggle and with the ability to acquire more data and perform more analysis in the age of Big Data, using the built-in metadata tools inside BK Connect might be what helps you solve your problem or meet your next design target.
With BK Connect, you will be able to predefine metadata as a text file and load the text file before the recording, so there will be no need to type the information when time is most critical.
Fan speed and hairdryer name as Display Legend
Customer name, operator and test location in the metadata table
So far we discussed how using metadata to document your tests and using the Result Matrix Viewer to organize data into displays helping you make decisions. This works well for individual users who can easily lay hands on their data, but what if you need to find data from an old, half-forgotten project, or you need data from others in your team?
Sharing Data? No Database Required!
With the BK Connect® we introduced a new concept for sharing data. Team Server Type 8400-T-FY is a data sharing tool that allows teams to share data via the network – no database is required.
Data files are stored in a network file repository (Team Folder) set up by a system administrator.
Data is shared as files from the BK Connect Project Browser to the Team Folder, either the original time data, or the process results, or both. Each user decides what to share with other engineers, test managers or test requesters. Once data has been shared to the Team Folder, it is indexed automatically. The system reads the files, extracts relevant user-defined metadata and application-related data attributes and turns them into searchable results. It works for all file types importable into BK Connect, but works best with the .bkc file, which has more attributes available for indexing.
Collaboration and problem solving
The Team Server is designed to work with the same user access rights that already exist in your organization, for example, when sharing files via Windows® Explorer on a shared drive. Whoever has read/write access to the Team Folder can search for data within BK Connect based on any data attribute, most importantly user-defined metadata. Once the data is found it can be imported into the local project for further processing, data comparison or reporting. This opens the door to new ways of collaborating and solving problems more efficiently than before.
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Above all, Team Server gives new life to old data. Who does not recall being asked for data they took in a past project, perhaps years ago, perhaps only last month? You have a rough idea where to find it, but how much effort will it take? How much time can you afford to spend before you give up, fearing it could take hours of browsing through old folders and projects, and wondering whether the data you eventually find will answer the question at all?
Team Server makes legacy data instantly searchable, however old it is. Terabytes of old project data come back to life. It’s so quick to find data that it opens new possibilities for experimenting with different potential uses, satisfying curiosity instead of being left wondering or, still worse, being forced to go out and take new data.
To make things easy, Team Server is accessed via a floating licence server installed on the Team Server itself, so no local licence is required. When used with the a FREE 6 months licence of Data Viewer you have true team collaboration across all members of the team.
Jason Kunio, Product Manager, BK Connect