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Using the Site Software


It will be useful to become familiar with some basic terminology that will be used in this chapter.

A sample is the basic data entity in this system; this is what the Reciprocal Net site software tracks.  Crystal samples usually are grown by one particular sample provider (the lab of a research chemist) and subsequently submitted to one particular crystallography lab for processing.

Structures may be contrasted with samples in that while one sample always illustrates one molecular structure, it is conceivable that two samples in Reciprocal Net would have the same underlying molecular structure.  Generally, a duplicate flag is added to both samples when such a condition is discovered.

Now that we’ve already used the term we might as well define it: a lab is a participating crystallography laboratory that uses the Reciprocal Net site software for its daily operations (like you probably hope to do).  Most management features of the Reciprocal Net Site Network take place at the lab level.  For this reason, each sample has a data field where the originating lab is recorded at the time of sample creation.

A provider is generally the lab of a research chemist that grows crystal samples and submits them to your lab for analysis.  There frequently are multiple people associated with a single provider, perhaps one faculty member and several graduate students.  Each sample has a data field where the originating provider is recorded at the time of sample creation.

A site is a server (or cluster of servers) in the Reciprocal Net Site Network.  More specifically, a site is a web server that runs the Reciprocal Net site software and is connected to the Internet.  It is possible for a single site to host multiple labs.  All sites in the network communicate with one another over the Internet to keep the distributed database of publicly visible samples in a consistent and accessible state.  Sites also                              maintain their own collection of private samples that are not shared with other sites.

The site database is a SQL database that exists at each site and that contains metadata about samples in the Reciprocal Net Site Network.  The database contains records for every sample that exists on the local site, plus those samples at other (remote) sites that have been made available to the public.

The site repository contains actual data files for samples in Reciprocal Net and is stored on the server’s file system directly.  These data files might include .cif files, .sdt files, .ort files, .crt files, .pdb files, and so forth.  To recap: the site database contains metadata, the site repository contains data.

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