Category Archives: Data Curation

Access your Duke-Cloud from ANYWHERE

Say you’ve been making hella maps or data stories all day. Now you need to move to your comfy work spot and you need your data to come with you.  If you use Duke’s CIFS, moving around is easy, and all of your files are already backed-up.

In this example we follow the researcher, Ms. Stu Fac-Staff.  Stu is part student, part faculty, and part staff at Duke University.  She needs a portable place for her data and wants easy access from her home, lab, and devices.  Stu also needs to easily share data with colleagues.  No problem!  Stu uses CIFS.

Here’s the scenario.  Ms. Stu Fac-Staff walks into the Data & GIS Lab in the Duke University Libraries with a flash drive full of data tables.  She gathers more supporting data and some advice about crunching the numbers.  Stu finishes her day with a visualization and map. (Proudly, Stu imagines this is going to get the A.  “Is this grant worthy?” Stu asks herself.  “You bet your NSF Application it is!”)  Meanwhile, her flash dive is now full and all she wants is to SAVE THE DATA, CONVENIENTLY for later retrieval back home. So Stu stores the data on the Duke Cloud (CIFS.)

How do I get the free CIFS Space and how much can I use/access?

How do I access the data from my device?

  • In the Data & GIS Lab, after using your NetID to login, open the Windows File Explorer and your CIFS space will be mapped as drive Z.
  • After you leave our Data & GIS Lab, all you have to do is “map the drive” on your own machine
  • Web – For easy distribution to colleagues, you might want to access or distribute your files through the web.  To do this, store the files in your ‘public_html‘ directory inside of your CIFS space.  Now the files can be downloaded via a web browser.  This method is, by default, open to the world; you may want to take additional steps to secure this public_html directory  (see below.)


Can I Secure the Data?

  • Are you trying to access your mapped drive from off campus?
    • Use the VPN directions
    • The CIFS protocol encrypts NetID/password but it does not encrypt your data stream over the Internet.  If you’re connecting from an unencrypted or untrusted network (e.g. wireless in the coffee shop), the VPN allows for a secure connection.
  • Did you put files in your public_html folder?
    • Unlike the default CIFS space, placing files in the ‘public_html’ directory means they become accessible to the world
    • You can control and limit access by following OIT’s “htaccess” instructions

Data and GIS Fall 2013 Newsletter

Analyze, discover, manage, map, and visualize your data with Duke Libraries Data and GIS Services.  Our team of five consultants provides a broad range of support in areas ranging from data analysis, data visualization, geographic information systems, financial data, statistical software and data storage and management.  Our lab provides 12 workstations with the latest data software and three Bloomberg Professional workstations nearly 24/7 for the Duke community.

Data and GIS Workshop Series

All are welcome to the Data and GIS Workshop Series.  Analyze, communicate, clean, map, represent and visualize your data with a wide range of workshops on data based research methods and tools.  Details and registration for each class are available at the links that follow.  (Interested in keeping up to date with workshops and events in Data and GIS?  Just go to and click on the “Subscribe” link at the bottom left.)

    Tue, Sep 3, 2013      1:00 PM - 3:00 PM    Introduction to ArcGIS    
    Wed, Sep 4, 2013     10:00 AM - 11:30 AM   Stata for Research    
    Wed, Sep 11, 2013    10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   Open (aka Google) Refine     
    Thu, Sep 12, 2013     1:00 PM - 3:00 PM    Analysis with R    
    Tue, Sep 17, 2013     1:00 PM - 2:30 PM    Introduction to Tableau Public 8    
    Thu, Sep 19, 2013    10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   Google Fusion Tables    
    Mon, Sep 23, 2013     1:00 PM - 2:30 PM    Introduction to Tableau Public 8    
    Tue, Sep 24, 2013     1:00 PM - 2:30 PM    Stata for Research    
    Mon, Sep 30, 2013    10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   Top 10 Dos and Don'ts for Charts and Graphs    
    Mon, Sep 30, 2013     1:00 PM - 3:00 PM    Introduction to ArcGIS    
    Tue, Oct 8, 2013      1:00 PM - 2:30 PM    Introduction to Text Analysis    
    Thu, Oct 10, 2013     1:00 PM - 3:00 PM    ArcGIS Special Topics: Geocoding & Proximity Analysis    
    Thu, Oct 17, 2013     1:00 PM - 3:00 PM    Historical GIS    
    Mon, Oct 28, 2013     1:00 PM - 2:00 PM    Designing Academic Figures and Posters    
    Tue, Oct 29, 2013     1:00 PM - 3:00 PM    Web GIS Applications

Data and GIS also offers instruction tailored to courses or research teams. Please contact to schedule a session!

Data Management

Data Management Planning – DMPTool – Get 24/7 online help for your next data management plan, including information about Duke resources available for your data work.

Statistical Software Updates

Explore all of our Data and GIS Lab resources on our site at or come visit us on the second floor of Perkins Library.

Job Opportunities in Data and GIS Services

Data & GIS Services is hiring!  We have two open positions for student web programmers interested in working on data visualization projects.  See the Library Student employment page ( for more information on how to apply.  (The job can be found by searching for requisition number “DUL14-AMZ02”.)

New Data and Map Collections

CPS on Web (CPS Utilities Online)
CPS on Web is a set of utilities enabling you to access CPS data and documentation from this website.   You may make tables and graphs from the CPS data, download data extractions, make estimations, get summaries and statistical measures, search the documentation, and make your own variables as functions of the existing ones.

Global Financial Data
Global Financial Data is a collection of financial and economic data provided in ASCII or Excel format. Data includes: long-term historical indices on stock markets; Total Return data on stocks, bonds, and bills; interest rates; exchange rates; inflation rates; bond indices; commodity indices and prices; consumer price indices; gross domestic product; individual stocks; sector indices; treasury bill yields; wholesale price indices; and unemployment rates covering over 200 countries.

LandScan Global
The LandScan Global Population Database provides global population distribution in a gridded GIS format at 30 arc-second resolution (approximately 1×1 km cells). Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed modeling techniques to disaggregate and interpolate census data within administrative boundaries to create a GIS layer showing population distribution as accurately and as timely as possible. EastView provides this data to use in GIS software as a WMS (Web Mapping Service) or as a WCS (Web Coverage Service) to allow a user to incorporate population distribution into GIS mapping and analysis.

Contact Us

twitter: duke_data or duke_vis

Data Management Planning Advice – DMPTool @ Duke

Data and GIS Services is happy to announce the launch of new service designed to provide detailed data management planning help online.  As an increasing number of granting agencies require a data management plan as part of the grant application process, the DMPTool provides “an open source, web application that assists researchers in producing data management plans and delivering them to funders.” For Duke researchers, the tool provides constantly updated advice about how to complete a data management plan while simultaneously highlighting Duke resources available from a variety of data support providers for the planning, maintenance, and sharing of research data.

We hope that the DMPTool will streamline the grant writing process and help researchers make the appropriate connections to resources available both at Duke and beyond for data management planning.  We welcome your comments and suggestions on this resource.


Catching up on computational biology resources

With the arrival of summer, now is great time to catch up on these resources in computation biology and bioinformatics:

BioStar: Have a question on bioinformatics, computational genomics and biological data analysis but not sure who to ask? Try BioStar, which is an online open community of biologists ready to answer questions, even from “newbies”. You are also welcome to answer and comment on the questions. The more you do, the more reputation points you can earn toward your BioStar badge.

OpenHelix: The site provides a searchable collection of tutorials,  training materials, and exercises on the most popular genomic resources. The folks at OpenHelix also contract with resource providers to offer onsite, hands-on workshops at institutions. While most of their tutorials and training materials require a subscription, they do provide a suite of free tutorials, including ones on the UCSC Genome Browser and the RCSB Protein Data Bank.

Database: The Journal of Biological Databases and Data Curation: While maybe not beach reading, Database is a nice complement to the Nucleic Acids Research annual database issue. This open-access journal, launched in 2009, aims to provide a “platform for the presentation of novel ideas in database research and biocuration, and aims to help strengthen the bridge between database developers, curators, and users.”

Have a computation biology resource you would like to recommend? Please leave a comment.