Frequently Asked Questions

Logging In

How do I get an SBC login? Usually an investigator or staff member requests a login for new students, staff or associate investigators. Those requesting a login should contact SBC Help, and provide the new partipant's name, email address and phone number. If you have an active login, your name will show up on SBC's People page.

How do I get to data on the server?
1. See Fileserver Access.
2. From a desktop computer located at UCSB, you can "map a drive", which allows you to see the central data server as if it were a drive on your UCSB desktop.
Go to Windows Instructions (XP).
Go to Macintosh Instructions (OS-X).
3. From off campus, the simplest way is to use a browser, and start at SBC's Data Page or see #1 above for other methods.

I've followed the instructions for Windows, but this little box keeps popping up asking for my password. What's wrong?
1. The process by which the server identifies you as an SBC member is called "authentication" and your desktop computer has cached authentication information from the last time you connected. If the data server has been updated since then, the information requested by the server will not match what is stored on your computer. You may need to reboot your local machine to erase the cache, and then map the drive again. If that doesn't solve the problem, contact the information manager.

I have a PISCO (or MCR) login. Do I need another one for SBC?
No. People on any of these projects can access any of the servers. However, you will need to map a separate drive to each, or use a different URL. See each project's help page for the name of their data server. SBC Help can also find out the names of the other data servers.

Finding Stuff

I need help finding my way around the directories.
1. see the internal guide: HERE.
2. Your group is the best source for information on any recent changes to the directories, especially the working directories.
3. Ask the data manager: EMAIL.

Sharing Data

I need to share files with some other people, but they dont have permission to edit a file that I wrote.
We use 'groups' to control who has permission to read and write files. Generally, anyone with a login can read or download a file, but only certain responsible individuals can alter them. Shared directory systems simplify access for groups of collaborators, but that convenience comes at a cost: the users need to know a little bit about the system's structure. Here's how it works:

Although a directory is group-writeable and you are in that group, the owner still has ultimate control over the permissions settings on each file (or subdirectory) that s/he creates. Most of the directories in the "internal folder" are set up so that new files are writeable by a group. Sometimes the settings on your desktop computer override these. However, the file's owner can always change these settings manually. To see the owner of a file, in Windows XP choose the "Details" View. Then right-click the header area and click "Owner".

If you don't have priviledges which allow you to write to a directory but feel you should, contact your supervisor and then the data manager.

To edit the permission settings on any file or directory through a mapped drive (Windows XP):
right-click the file -> Properties -> Security
At the top of the dialog box is a list of users and group names (the owner, the group, and "Everyone").
check the boxes to allow the permissions you need. Usually highlighting the group, and checking "write" is what you'll need to do. If you don't own the file, you won't be able to change its permission settings. In that case, contact the data manager.
If you are using the command line in ssh (you know who you are): chmod g+w filename

Your other option is to ask your IM (SBC Help) to change the permissions for you - which of course, is no problem (the MCR information manager and MSI system administrator can do this too). However it usually works out that you don't know there is a problem untill access is urgent. If help is unavailable, you'll be less frustrated if you know the process yourself. If it turns out that there is a directory in which everything always must be group writeable, then contact the IM about resetting the permissions there on a regular basis.

By the way: The default setting on most fileservers is that a file can be edited only by its owner. This is mainly so that the files you create in your home directory are yours alone. This can be valuable in the group-owned directories, as well. Often only one person is responsible for all the data in a file, and so others shouldn't have any edit privileges. The downside is that (sometimes) when you create a directory, others aren't allowed to write to it (e.g, if your local computer has overridden the settings). But as the owner, you can change the permissions. If you need to transfer ownership of a file, contact your IM.

LTER Network Office

Do I have an LTER Network login in addition to my SBC login?
Your information manager will have created an account at the LTER Network Office (LNO) when your account at SBC was created, and sent you login instructions. If you're still not sure, you can look yourself up (or anyone) in the Network database by going to and clicking "People". You can edit your information at the LNO by clicking "Intranet" on the same page, and then logging in. Remember that your login+password at LNO will probably not match your login at SBC -- these are 2 separate accounts. Your IM (SBC Help) can update your info at the network office if you wish, as well control your membership in our mail lists.

Does data I post with SBC go to a Network data catalog?
Yes. All data in SBC's catalog also appears in the Network data catalog administered by the LTER Network Office (LNO) ( From there, metadata are contributed to national repositories and data-aggregators.

NSF Data Management Plans

I need to write an NSF data management plan. Where do I start?
In 2011, NSF added a requirement that all proposals include a 2-page Data Management Plan. In LTER, data management plans have been a requirement for a much longer time, and generally, the LTER Network is a leader in data management practices for diverse environmental data. SBC has gathered some resources for scientists writing data management plans for NSF proposals here (requires login). These resources include a template data management plan for collaborative projects which plan to post their data in the SBC LTER data catalog. The information manager is available to review your data management plan, and suggest options. If you plan to house your data in the SBC system, it is essential that the information manager and SBC leadership be kept informed of your proposal's progress.
You can also contact the SBC information manager directly for help.