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Data File Instructions

EDI Format



Naming your files

<brief description separated by underscores>_<researcher>_<month>_<day>_<year>.xls

For example:  this_is_a_sample_datasheet_vadeboncoeur_10_27_18.xls

  • The researcher in the file name should be the person who generated the data.   People who update the file will be listed in the notes.
  • Please use underscores wherever you would use spaces normally. Do not use periods in the file name except immediately before the extension.

Data Sheets

Where possible, data files should be in Microsoft Excel format. There will be situations when the data will be converted to another format for processing. However, all data should be posted on the website in Excel format, even if other working versions of the data exist.

Excel Formatting Conventions

In Excel, data series should be in a relatively standard format. Records will be in rows and fields in columns.

The first column should be an identifier that is unique for each record, even if this identifier is simply the concatenation of information in other columns. For example, in a list of soil pits, the first column should be the unique name of each soil pit, such as "Berry1-3", even if the site (Berry1) and pit number (3) are listed individually in their own columns. Alternatively, the ID could simply be a unique number assigned to each record.

The first row should contain the names of the variables described in each record. For example, "DBH". The second row should contain the units in which the variables are recorded, for example "centimeters"

The name of the first column should always be "ID", and the cell below it should always be blank.

Data plots should not be embedded in the datasheets, but should instead be stored as separate sheets in the workbook.

Where possible, keep data all in the same sheet. Additional sheets may be used for data processing steps. Where possible, do not lump different types of data (soil pit data and veg survey data) and in the same workbook, even if they came from the same plots. Instead, give each distinct data set its own workbook, at least for the purpose of sharing.


The first sheet will be the metadata sheet.  Each metadata sheet should explain the following:

  • The author(s) or producer(s) of the data
  • Brief outline of the procedures used to create the data
  • Any codes or abbreviations used in the data sheet
  • Anything about the data that may not be clear from looking at the data sheet itself
  • Related datasets
  • Publications
  • Known problems


Following the metadata sheet will be a notes sheet, including the following information:

  • Project title
  • Name of person that edits the file
  • Detail of errors found in data and the dates on which they were corrected
  • A version history of the data

This is an examplary datasheet.


Save all documents in Microsoft Word format, and name according to the naming conventions.

How to Use this Site - Procedures for Data Sharing

Reporting Errors

If, in the course of working with data, you find what you believe to be an error, you should first contact the original author of that file. If you determine the error needs to be fixed, please fix it.  Add to the Notes page what you did and when you did it, and email the updated version of the file, with the name of the file it should replace to

Procedures for Uploading Images to Google Photos

Naming your files

Please give photo files short, but descriptive file names, including dates or year.

Upload photos

  1. Go to
  2. Login, using the credentials obtained from
  3. Select "Photos" from menu
  4.  “Upload” images
  5. Select "Add to Existing Album" and scroll down to find the right album name.  If it’s a new topic, then "Create New Album" and give it a descriptive name.
  6. Send an email to advising of upload, without this email, forestecology won't know to link the new album to the MELNHE site.