COLLABORATION USING TRANSANA
Sharing Single-user Databases
Although the single-user version of Transana is designed for independent analysis work, you can share an entire database with a colleague for the purposes of consultation. If you have not already done so, the first thing you should do is configure your Media Library directory. In the Tools menu, you will find Export Database, which requests a file name and instructs Transana to create a copy of your data in a text file that can be read by other copies of Transana. (Technically, that file is in Transana-XML format with a .tra file extension.) This *.tra file contains all of the analytic information in your Transana database, which is all of your data except your original media and image files. When you send your data to a colleague, you need to send the *.tra file and all of the media and image files to which the data refers.
Your colleague can import your data by creating a new database in their copy of Transana, and setting the Media Library directory to where they have stored your media files. Then, they should go to the Tools menu and choose Import Database, and select the *.tra file you sent. This will read your data from the file and build a new Transana database that exactly matches yours when you exported it.
Please note that there is not currently any mechanism that allows your colleague to share changes to your database with you short of sending back an entire database. There is no way to integrate two databases that have both been edited since the database export operation was initiated. Therefore, this procedure should be thought of as useful for consultation but not full collaboration.
Sharing data files across the Internet
If your data is confidential or subject to Human Subjects restrictions, you should not send your database, media, or image files to others via e-mail, FTP, or HTTP download. Those methods of transferring data through the Internet are not secure.
Fortunately, a number of services have arisen in the past few years that help with secure sharing of large files. Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, iDrive, and iCloud are the most well-known of these services, although there are many others. However, it is important to note that you should not use such services with active Transana database files you are connecting to, as data corruption with total data loss can occur. You can use these services to transfer the files between users, but not to connect to while using Transana.
Transana does provide a built-in solution that allows the secure, encrypted transfer of large media files using the Internet. Transana’s File Management tool provides a mechanism for connecting to a Secure File Transfer Protocol (sFTP) Server, which facilitates the secure transfer of confidential data. See File Management for more information. This option requires that you have access to an sFTP server with adequate storage for your files.
Multiuser Transana: Sharing Data in Real Time
Transana offers a multiuser version that allows multiple researchers to connect to the same data at the same time, even when they are not in the same location. Researchers connected to the same database can actually see the changes others are making in real time. This enables large research groups to collaborate in complex ways on complex data sets.
As you might imagine, the multiuser version requires a more complex setup procedure than does the single-user version. For more information on the multi-user version of Transana, please see the Transana web site.