Website Agreements

Although Indicia is primarily designed so that each client website sharing a single warehouse has exclusive access to its own pot of data, there are situations where sharing records across website boundaries can be very useful. Examples include:

  • Sharing verification effort across several different portals. For example, a website for general recording and a website for recording bumblebees could use a shared verification portal for all bumblebee records, so that experts do not need to log into 2 different systems.
  • Offering reporting across records captured via multiple portals.
  • Providing centralised administration of several surveys, e.g. the onward transfer of the records to the NBN Gateway could be handled in one place.

Sharing effort in this way not only reduces the amount of time spent on each task but saves the need to configure Indicia pages for each purpose on every website.

The way this is achieved is via a website agreement. Website agreements are a powerful mechanism for reducing the overall effort required for managing online recording. In addition by website agreements can increase the feeling of belonging to a wider community by sharing records across the boundaries between different client websites, as long as the client websites share a single warehouse. A website agreement is created on the warehouse. Think of the agreements as pools of data which also define the rules of membership of that pool of data. The rules of membership define whether a member website is able to put data into and/or take data out of the pool, or whether an administrator must choose this setting (so a website owner can’t grab all the iRecord verification data for example, only an administrator can set that up). The rules for putting data into or taking data out of the pool of data are further divided into the type of task being performed, so an agreement may define different rules for reporting on data vs verification of data. For example, an agreement could define that all participating∑ websites must provide their records to other participating websites for reporting purposes, or that providing records to other websites for reporting is optional. The agreement can define the possible providing and receiving of records for each of the following tasks:

  • reporting
  • peer review
  • verification
  • data flow
  • moderation
  • editing

For each of these tasks, it can define if the data sharing is:

  • Not allowed
  • Optional, but requires an administrator to set it
  • Optional
  • Mandatory

Then the warehouse is used to configure which websites are participating in the agreement and, for each website, which of the optional data sharing options it will participate in. Let’s take the example of iRecord, which provides a central reporting and verification portal for a number of other websites. The website agreement defines that

  • providing of records for reporting is optional.
  • receiving of records for reporting is optional but requires an administrator to set this option.
  • providing of records for verification is optional.
  • receiving of records for verification is optional but requires an administrator to set this option.

The administrator of the warehouse then adds iRecord itself to the website agreement and defines that iRecord can receive records for both verification and reporting. Then, the administrator of each website (not the warehouse, so they do not have full admin rights) adds their own site to the website agreement. In doing so they are unable to choose options to receive data for verification or reporting because these options would require full admin rights, but can opt in to either providing records for the reporting in iRecord and/or providing records for the verification system in iRecord.