Edinburgh DataVault Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where is DataVault / where can I login to DataVault / where can I start creating my vault?
A: DataVault's web address, the homepage where you can login, create a new vault etc, is:
NB DataVault users should no longer use Pure to create a metadata record describing their vault. Thanks to our new interface, available since May 2022, you can carry out all the steps you need to directly in the DataVault's own website.
If you cannot find the answer to your question on these pages, please don't hesitate to get in touch with the Research Data Support team using the 'Contact us' button above.
Q: When I try to add another user to a vault, I get an error that says 'could not find user with ID ='.
A: The other user must login to the DataVault once with their University login, to allow the system to add them to the list of users, before you can add them to a vault.
Q: I'm working from home. DataVault seems to be down?
A: You will need the VPN installed and connected.
Connecting to DataStore / depositing files
Q: Can DataVault pick up files from Eddie?
A: Yes, some filesets may be deposited directly from Eddie, depending on a couple of different factors involved in setting up the SFTP connection. Please contact the Research Data Support team for help using the 'Contact us' button above.
Q. When I try to retrieve / deposit my data, it fails, and I get an email message that says "Unfortunately the attempted operation (deposit or retrieval of a deposit) with the following details was unsuccessful" etc.
A. Please contact the Research Data Support team for help. Sometimes a retrieval or deposit might fail in this way because the user has not copied the SSH key of their File Location over to DataStore using the key registration dialog on the File Locations page. Please make sure you have copied over the SSH key. This video may help:
Q: When I try to select a folder to deposit data from / retrieve data into, DataVault displays an error saying "DataVault could not access the location you specified".
A: Have you already copied your SSH key to DataStore, using the Key Registration Dialog button, for the relevant file location? If not, please follow the instructions on the video:
If that does not work, please contact the Research Data Support team using the 'Contact us' button above.
Q: When I try to select a particular folder to deposit data from / retrieve data into, DataVault displays an error saying "Deposit size: File information not available".
A: Please contact the support team to troubleshoot the issue.
Q: I deposited an SPSS file (.sav) and it is much smaller than it should be, only 4KB.
A: Some users have accidentally picked up and deposited what appeared to be temporary files from the folder where their data files were stored. Please close all software that has those files open before selecting files to deposit them, and please keep an eye on whether the file size displayed on the DataVault page is in the right region.
Q: I'm working from home. Won't DataVault be too slow for me to access or make a deposit using my home broadband?
A: No, it should be fine. The transfer of files that happens during deposit and retrieval is done using SFTP, across the University network, so the speed should be normal. Only the steps you do on the web interface (such as creating a vault, or giving another user access, which usually take less than a minute) should be affected by any fluctuation in your home broadband speed.
Q: Is it OK to compress my files (using zip or gzip, bzip2 etc) before depositing them into the DataVault?
A: We do not recommend compressing files, because the DataVault encrypts all the files you deposit. Compression combined with encryption increases the risk of the data becoming irretrievable in the long-term. However, this is just a recommendation, not a rule.
Q: Is there a limit to how much data DataVault can handle?
A: In theory, no. DataVault currently allows up to ten terabytes (10TB) in a deposit. A user may archive many deposits in a vault. Should you need to archive many terabytes, please contact the Research Data Support team to talk about scheduling those to optimise performance. But see the next question and our advice on structuring your data.
Q: My deposit seems to get stuck at the point where it says "Deposit size: calculating...".
A: There is a known error, where the files selected for a single deposit comprise a very large number of nested directories and files, usually many hundreds of files. If the message persists for more than fifteen minutes, we advise you to tar your files together into one tar file before depositing them. Common utilities such as 7-zip for Windows or the tar command on Linux will do this for you.
Q: My deposit gets stuck with an error that says "Couldn't calculate size of the deposit!".
A: This may be caused by missing permissions. Please make sure you have full permissions to the folders (directories) and files to be deposited, not just read-only but permissions to edit too. Known issue - DataVault will not allow the user to add the whole contents of the 'File Location' to the deposit, ie if you select the top-level folder in your 'File Location', when you click 'Add', DataVault will display the error "Couldn't calculate the size of the deposit!". Workaround: Create your File Location for a less-specific area, ie create a new File Location, and set the File Location path to at least one directory/folder higher up, so that when you add the files to a deposit, you will be able to select the containing folder one level down from the File Location.
If that does not solve the issue please contact the Research Data Support team using the 'Contact us' button above.
Q: My files are not on DataStore. How can I get them into the DataVault?
A: You should move your files onto your DataStore shared area or homespace. If you do not have enough capacity in your shared area or homespace, we can give you temporary access to the DataVault staging area (a DataStore shared area). Once we've given your UUN access, you'll be able to place your files in the staging area, connect DataVault to the staging area by setting it up as a File Location, and deposit your files. Once safely deposited, we will delete them from the staging area. Please email the support team if you want to ask to use the staging area (see 'Contact us' button).
Q: I get an error when I try to select the whole of the file location top level directory/folder for inclusion in a deposit.
A: You must click the triangle on the left-hand-side to expand at least one level of the directory/folder and then select what you need to deposit from there. If the (top-level folder of the) file location is completely empty, the page will show an error.
Q: DataVault is showing an error caused by long path names and/or special characters in filenames.
A: We advise you to tar your files together into one tar file before depositing them. Common utilities such as 7-zip for Windows or the tar command on Linux will do this for you.
Q: Why is DataVault not ordinarily available for storing student-generated data?
A: DataVault is provided primarily for the purpose of allowing research staff to comply with funder requirements about long-term retention of data, which are not applicable to students. Students, unless they have signed a waiver to the contrary, usually own their own data. By depositing data in the DataVault, the student would be acknowledging that they were waiving their ownership of the data, that they were giving the university the permission to delete or share the data without necessarily consulting with them personally. Please email the support team if you wish to discuss how to manage student research data (see 'Contact us' button).