Using the CCDS online database
Steve Willett, CC-DS database flunky
- Your login name is probably your first initial and your last name, like "swillett". Your initial password is probably "password".
- If you are logging in for the first time, provide your own new password at both prompts. After changing your password, click on "Go to Your Home Page" - this is where you will be brought in the future when you log in with your new password.
- Note the date that the online data was last uploaded - click on "Select Records to View" to go to the page where you specify which data you want to see.
- If you have permission to see the entire database, there will be two radio buttons on the right under "Select by Area" to choose what you want to see - "From All Areas" and "From Selected Areas". To select data from the entire database, leave the "From All Areas" radio button selected.
- If you want to see data for a limited area, click on the "From Selected Areas" radio button on the right side of the box (if you do not have permission to see all the data, this step is not necessary), then check off the specific areas you want included in your data.
- Click on "View Records" to see the data - this may take a little time as the system sorts through 11,000 records. The data you requested will be displayed in a table. Note that when you are looking at the data in the table, the size of the table is displayed just below it. Also there are convenient links just below the table, including a link directly to us at Initiative Computing to send us corrections.
- At the "Select Records" page, you can also search on various criteria, such as membership status or name, city, etc. Having chosen your "universe" from the "Select by Area" box, you can enter selection criteria on the right in either the "Select by Record Status" box or the "Search by Contents" box. Be sure to select the radio button next to "Select by Status" if you want to do that! Selections in the "Record Status" box are cumulative - choosing more than one status will get you records matching *either*.
- Selections in the "Search by Contents" box are exclusive - you will only see records that match *all* your choices. However, the matches are quite inclusive - they are case-insensitive, and they match the entered data if it appears anywhere in that field in the record. For example, a search on the name "Steve" will return records where the first name is "Steve" or "Steven", but it will also return records with the last name "Stevenson" or even "Esteves"!
- If you check the small box next to a field in the "Search by Contents" box, you get a negative search. For example, if you search by the area "California, North", but enter "San Francisco" in the "City" field and check the checkbox next to it, you will get all records from Northern California that are *not* in San Francisco.
- Now for a most useful feature. When you are looking at data in a table, there are three links, "Tab-delimited Data", "Tab-delimited Labels" and "Email List" above the table. These shows you data in standard text formats that can be imported into Excel or used in many other programs.
- From the browser window that shows you the tab-delimited or email data, click on "File/Save As" (or the equivalent option for your browser) and save the file to your computer in an appropriate place. If it is tab-delimited data, you can save it with the file extension ".xls" to make it easier to open it with Excel. The email list can often be copied and pasted directly into the "To" or "CC" field in your mail program to send mail to the entire list. When you save the data to a file you should give the file a name that will help you remember what it is.
- If you have saved tab-delimited data, you can now launch Excel, or your favorite spreadsheet program, and open this file with it. You will probably then want to save it from the spreadsheet program as a regular spreadsheet workbook file instead of a "tab-delimited" file. At that point you can sort on various fields, or use the data to generate phone lists, labels, etc. You can also do this directly from the data file using the mail merge fuctionality of many word processing programs, like Word. The advantage of this is you can create the Word document to format the labels or list, and then grab the data again for a different selection and rerun the report.
- There is also a "View Statistics" page that lets you look at either a snapshot of current membership/mailing list statistics or a history of statistics, either nationally or for a particular area. This can also be captured in a tab-delimited file for further processing.
- Let me know whether or not this makes sense and if you are able to get what you need. The whole idea is to make CC-DS activists around the country less dependent on me or the office when they need information about folks in their area.