Surfing overviews in GALAXY

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Getting started

Login to GALAXY on A6:: (password ZZZZZZ)

At the Huh? prompt, type your user identifier (AC, ASP, CB, CH, CR, DON, EG, EH, EL, HUY, JB, JG, JH, KW, MC, PB, PH, PM, QT, RG, RUA, SD, SJ, SMR, TE, VE, YW, ZMC etc as appropriate) <return> - this selects your private directory [GALAXY.AC] or [GALAXY.ASP] etc where life can be conducted undisturbed. If you don't have one, please use ZW. Each private directory has an appropriate logical name, e.g. AC:

The 'default' overview is BC (breast cancer: type BC <return> to switch back if you have been using others, e.g. CRC, HD etc). Each overview has its own eponymous directory tree and logical names. Human-readable flat files are used throughout (techies' note: these are invisibly shadowed by automatically-updated keyed binary files for fast programmatic access).

The master list

The 'master list' of all centres/groups, trials/strata, eligibility criteria and treatment arms for each overview is LIST.DAT (e.g. BC:LIST.DAT for breast cancer). This be searched using your favourite editor; but please be very careful not to introduce any unintended changes (DANGER: some editors truncate the widest records)! If you know the centre/group number (e.g. 13), the trial/stratum number (e.g. 1302) or the year mnemonic (e.g. 78E2), you can immediately see the details using WORLD:

Huh?   WORLD   13
Huh?   WORLD   1302
Huh?   WORLD   78E2
There is also a condensed version of LIST.DAT called YLIST.DAT - this is identical in form except that treatment agents are abbreviated. Because YLIST is synthesised from LIST, it might be slightly out of date because one needs to run TERSE periodically to take in any recent changes to LIST.

If you would like to print the complete contents of LIST.DAT, it is recommended that you create an intermediate 'laser-friendly' version ZLIST.DAT (example for BC overview to be printed on the OVERLP laser printer):

Huh?   CLASER   BC:ZLIST   H16
There are various options for different printers. H16 selects the correct page format.

Alternatively, just FTP the file A6::UDV5:[GALAXY.BC]LIST.DAT (or YLIST.DAT) onto your PC and search it using your favourite word processor!

An aside about rummaging

There is a quite useful VMS facility SEARCH:
...would display every occurrence of the word INTERFERON within a 'window' of 5 lines (i.e. two above and two below). If a /WIN setting is not included (SEA   BC:LIST.DAT   INTERFERON), only the actual lines containing INTERFERON would appear. SEARCH is case-blind; inverted commas can be used to make it take account of spaces, e.g:
If you aren't sure which editor to use, try QCR (if using an emulator on a PC) or QQR (if using a VT terminal):
Huh?   QCR   BC:LIST
...activates the EVE editor in read-only mode within a 132 x 24 window (suitable for KEA-TermTM - yes, we're late casualties in the old IBM : DEC wars); or
Huh?   QQR   BC:LIST
...activates the EVE editor with EDT keypad in read-only mode within a 132 x 50 window (suitable for VT520).

The information files

Each centre/group has a file containing all the project management information including the present and past names and addresses of trialists, details of the status of each data set, the bibliography, a calendar detailing all past correspondence and data processing, action items and various other things. The files are called LBCx.DAT where x is the centre/group number (e.g. for breast cancer centre/group 13, the file is BC:LBC13.DAT).

A convenient way to see all of this information, combined with additional stuff such as the relevant trial details from LIST and the results from the data checking system, is to use RUGRAT to generate the synopses that are kept in the filing cabinets:

Huh?   RUGRAT   13
... for breast cancer centre/group 13, this generates a temporary synopsis BC$DK:LBB13.DAT which can be printed on the OVERLP laser printer thus:
Huh?   CLASER   BC$DK:LBB13   V12
There are various options for different printers. V12 selects the correct page format.

As with LIST, it is possible to use SEARCH (and editors such as QAR and QQR) to locate things:


Some other relevant files

There are a number of useful files summarising, for instance, trial/stratum peculiarities, data and collaboration status (EXTRAS.DAT), year mnemonics (SERIAL.DAT), deliberately unequal randomisation allocations (LURCHE.DAT) and so forth: these are described in 'GALAXY at CTSU: information about overviews'.

Utilities exist to fish out details of a particular trial/stratum. For the trial/stratum peculiarities, data and collaboration status:

Huh?    WRECKE   1302

For the year mnemonics and abbreviated trial/stratum names:

Huh?   SERBIA   1302
Huh?   SERBIA   78E2
Each overview also has a master address list ZAA.DAT containing contact details for all active people referred to in the information (LBCx) files. Labels can be generated using LABEL. Although always kept up to date on the basis of information logged in the information files, these details are not currently synchronised with the external contact database, unfortunately. The existence of parallel universes is a long-standing and silly problem that we must remedy...


All of this stuff is described in the huge and crashingly dull 'GALAXY documentation for CTSU Yellow Folder'. A quick start is provided in the 'Impatient user's guide to running analyses'. Please note that plans to link to the ProciteTM reference database and the IngresTM contact database are afoot: the details will be circulated when these scenarios have been activated.

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[End of document, updated to 19 July 2001]