1406.0.55.007 - DataLab, User Guide  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/03/2021  First Issue
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New DataLab: using your workspace


Getting started in the DataLab workspace
Accessing your data files
Available software
Managing your R packages
Sign out or Lock your DataLab session


Getting started in the DataLab workspace

When you have successfully logged into the Citrix Workspace, your DataLab workspace looks like this.
Image: Citrix DataLab workspace

You can use DataLab in a similar way to using other secure networked systems, where you can securely see, use and share data files, analysis and output with the other members of your project team.

Open File Explorer and click on This PC to see the network drives you have access to:

  • Library: All researchers can see all files in the Library drive. This is where we upload support information, such as Statistical language documentation, ANZSIC classification, this DataLab user guide. Files cannot be saved to this drive.
  • Output: Any output you want the ABS to clear should be saved to this drive. Only members of your team can see this drive. See also Request output clearance.
  • Project: A shared space for your team to work in and store all your project files. Only members of your team can see this drive. The default storage is 1TB. You will need to review and delete unnecessary files as your project files grow over time. If necessary, an increase to this storage can be requested via microdata.access@abs.gov.au. There may be a cost for additional storage.
  • Products: Access data files that have been approved for your project. However, it is best to use the My data products shortcut on your desktop as this shows you only the datasets you have been approved to access, rather than all dataset short names. Files cannot be saved to this drive.
  • LocalDisk: If you have been granted local disk space, this can be used to run jobs on offline virtual machines (desktops). You may want to request this option if you have multiple projects that you are actively involved in. There may be a cost associated with attaching local disk space to your VM. The local disk will only be present if it has been allocated to your VM.
  • Drives A, C and D are not to be used. Information saved here is destroyed.
Image: PCs network drives

Do not store files in any other folders. Other members of your project cannot see files if you store them in other drives. Files stored outside of the Project and Output drives are destroyed every 30 days as part of DataLab security protocols.

Refreshing your network drives. If your network drives do not appear in File Explorer, you can click the Refresh Network shortcut on the desktop. A confirmation message appears when this has been successfully refreshed.
Image: Refresh network drives iconImage: Confirmation message


Accessing your data files

To access the data files for your project, use the My Data Products shortcut on your desktop.
Image: My data products desktop shortcut

The My Data Products folder displays only the products approved for your project.
Image: File Explorer My data products

Selecting the Products drive shows you the short name of all data loaded to the DataLab. However, if you try to open a file that is not approved for your project you are denied access and receive an error.
Image: Products drive
Image: Error message Windows cannot access location


Available software

Software can be opened using the shortcuts on your desktop or by using search on the Taskbar.

All researchers have access to these applications in the DataLab:
  • LibreOffice
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Notepad ++
  • QGIS
  • Git (available locally for projects to version their code)
  • R 4.0.3, including:
    • RStudio 1.4.1103
    • RTools 40
  • Python 3.7 (Anaconda3 distribution) including:
    • Juypter Notebook
    • Spyder

If required, you can also request:
  • SAS 9.4
  • Stata MP 16

Microsoft Word and Excel are not currently available, as these applications require a internet connection, which is not supported in a secure system like new DataLab. The versions which worked in old DataLab are no longer available. We are reviewing options on how to support this software within our secure system.

Firefox and Edge are available to support access for Databricks (which is under development) and for Jupyter notebooks to use Python/R. These browsers cannot be used to browse the internet.

If a package in your statistical software choice is not available, send an email to microdata.access@abs.gov.au describing the package required. Managing your R packages explains how you can manage R packages using the RStudio package manager shortcut on your desktop.

To open a PDF, right click and choose open with Adobe Acrobat Reader. Due to a default setting in Microsoft, if you double click, the system automatically uses Microsoft Edge to open any PDF file.
Image: File Explorer right click Open with menu selecting Adobe Acrobat Reader DC


Managing your R packages

If you are working with a specific set of R packages, you can manage these using the RStudio package manager shortcut on your desktop.
Image: RStudio Package Manager shortcut icon

In the R Package Manager , click Get Started to take you to the available packages. You can use this tool to search for packages (in the left column) and install the R packages you want to use for your project. If the packages you need are not listed, email your request to microdata.access@abs.gov.au.
Image: R Studio Package Manager Get Started button
Image: R packages list and description


Sign out or Lock your DataLab session

When you walk away from your computer or are finished with your DataLab session, you must either lock your work station or sign out of your account to ensure nobody else accesses your DataLab account. Click the Windows menu in the bottom left corner and select the person icon to select Lock or Sign out.
Image: Windows flag icon lock and sign out options

Lock if you need to leave your computer for a short length of time. To log back in use the dot menu at the top of your virtual session.
Image: Black dots top pull down menu

When expanded select Ctrl+Alt+Del, and re-enter your credentials.
Image: Ctrl+Alt+Del selection from menu

Sign out to leave your workspace session. This closes your session but does not end any programs you have running. Your programs will continue to run until 10pm that night, or longer if you have selected the Bypass option in the portal.

Signing out returns you to the Citrix workspace portal, where you can either close the browser window or Log Out of the portal using the icon in the top right corner (with your initial). To log back in, see Logging into the portal and workspace.
Image: Citrix workspace tab


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