This manual applies to both HRT and CET Information Center. Some examples will be using the HRT version of Information Center and some will be using CET.
What is Information Center?
Information Center is a tool by which you yourself can pick
and combine data from the vast pool of information available in the
our database. You decide which search criteria and filters to
apply. In short you can build your own reports customised to your
Have you ever found that one report has all the information
that you need except one little detail that is in another place, or
that you could not quite filter the data the way you wanted? With Information Center you chose what to include and how to filter it.
Currently you can choose to retrieve the data in HTML, Excel, PDF
or XML format. Furthermore, it is possible to schedule IC reports
for an automatic regular execution. In that case, the report results
would be sent by email to a list of recipients you determine
The Main Page
As mentioned above, Information Center allows you to create your own
reports. All your reports are accessible from the main page which
displays a list of all your existing reports. It also allows you to
create folders and to use them to structure the different reports you
have created. In conclusion, the main page is the entry point for all
your interactions with Information Center. It offers the functionality
to organize reports, lets you create new reports and folders and allows
you to execute, schedule, send or delete existing reports.
To learn more about the main page, its folder and sending
functionalities, you may have a look at our specific
A simple report step by step
Let's dive straight into building a small report...
We start with a very simple example. Let's make a simple
Personnel List report. Yes, yes, we know that there is already such a
report in but let's do it anyway just to see how a simple report
When you open the Information Center for the first time, you will
see an almost empty page. The only action you can take is to create
folders and/or your very first report.
Step 1. Create
Click on the New icon (see image) and you will be asked to
enter a name and a description of your first report.
Once done, the new report will appear in the list. Now we want to
dive into report making. Therefore select the new report press the Edit icon (see
This will open a new window with the Report Editor in it.
We can now start editing the report.
Step 2. Add
the data we need
We obviously do not want to extract all data available in one go.
That would be meaningless. So we need to tell the system what data
tables we need. In order to do so, we use the table selector which
is in the upper left area of the report editor.
Select the table "Persons (Current)" in the table selector. You
may have to use the scrollbar at the right hand side to make it
appear. When hovering over the different tables using the mouse, an
explanatory tooltip is displayed. There are two versions of the
Persons table. One that contains only persons currently considered
to be at CERN or at least having some recent contact with CERN
(Persons (Current)), and one that contains everyone ever registered
at CERN (Persons (Full)).
To add the table to your report, drag it to the "Selected Tables"
area on the right hand side of the table selector in the middle of
your window. While dragging the table, the
area inside of the "Selected Tables" component becomes green,
indicating that it is a valid place to drop the item you are
currently dragging. Once the table is selected, it appears in the
When there is at least one table selected, you can start adding
columns to the report. All available columns are available in the
column selector which is located in the left hand side column below
the table selector and the list of table joins. For each table that
has been added to the report, a tab containing the corresponding
columns appears in the column selector (1):
Add columns using drag/drop
In order to add some columns to your report, scroll through the
list of available columns and drag all the columns you would like to
appear in your report to the "Selected Columns" panel right
the column selector (2). A lot of columns have an attached description.
It is made visible in a tooltip if you hover over the column using
your mouse. If you want to add tables from different tables, you may
have to switch to a different tab from time to time.
For this small example, please select the columns Full Name,
Organic Unit and Email Address. Your selected columns panel should
look similar to the following screenshot afterwards:
Add more columns using the "Quick Column Selector"
There is another way to add a lot of columns very quickly: When
clicking the small blue link "Add Multiple Columns" (see above
screenshot), a small dialog opens itself. It provides access to all
selectable columns. In the list, you can select the columns you need
(working with the Shift and/or Ctrl keys to select multiple columns
at once), push them into the right hand side list box and add them
to your report by clicking "Ok".
Please add the columns Contract Type, Primary Nationality, Superior
Name to your report using this quick column selector. In the left
hand side list box (1), all available columns that have not yet been
selected in the report are available. Below (2), the label and a
short description (if available) is shown. The shown description
always concerns the last selected (blue) column in the above lists.
To select columns, move them to the right hand side using the button
">>" (3). All selected columns appear in the second list box (4). To
confirm your choice, click the "Ok" button. To go back without
selecting any column, choose "Cancel".
When all the columns are selected, you can reorder the columns by
using drag/drop. Reorder all your columns, so that the columns, you
have selected in your report appear in the following order:
Step 3. Format the data
Having selected the necessary columns, you can now choose to format the output. You can choose from the following formatting possibilities:
To format a column, click on the formatting icon (the colour
palette) on the right hand side of each column:
- You can make the text appear in Bold
- You can make the text appear in Italics
- You can choose the colour of the text in the column
- You can choose the colour of the background of the column
- You can choose from additional formatting options for
numbers and dates depending on the actual column value
This will open the formatting dialog. The options
that are available in this dialog depend on the column
type. Below, the first dialog is intended for columns
The font style options are available
for all column types. To make the content of a column
appear in bold and/or italic, check the corresponding
check boxes. For text columns, it is possible to specify
a unique specific text foreground and background colour.
The selected colours will be applied to all values of
the formatted column.
Furthermore, it is possible to make a
column value appear as a link. Either, if your column
contains email addresses, you can select the option
"Create an Email Link" to create a "mailto:" link
considering the column value as email address. Another
possibility is to create a standard web link using the
third option "Create a Standard Web Hyperlink". If you
use this option, the column value will be rendered as a
hyperlink. By default, if no specific URL prefix is
defined, the column value will be used as link as it is
returned from the query. In order to compose a link
based on a specific URL using the actual column value as
suffix, supply a link (e.g. an address like
"https://edh.cern.ch/Document/") to which the column
value is then appended. This can be very useful for
instance to link to EDH documents.
For number and date columns, the
dialogs offer slightly different formatting options:
For number columns, the text and
background colours can be specified separately for
positive and negative values.
The same applies to dates. For them it
is possible to specify different colours for dates being
greater than today's date and those being smaller.
Step 4. Filter the data
Actually we do already have a report that we could run if we
wanted. However this report would return all persons at CERN which
is not what we want. Therefore the following section describes how
to apply filters to the selected data.
Let's start by putting a filter on the organic unit. There are
two types of filters:
- Dynamic conditions will create a search
field which can be filled in when running the report.
- Static conditions are fixed and the user
who runs the report cannot modify them. They can only be changed
by opening the report in edit mode.
To create a dynamic condition that allows us to filter the
displayed data by organic unit, drag the column "Persons.OrgUnit" to
the list of dynamic conditions:
While dragging the column to the list of dynamic conditions,
other areas on the report editor screen become green. This is normal
and indicates that you could drop the dragged column onto these
areas, too. To create static conditions, group or order by columns,
you proceed in the same way. You simply drag the desired columns to
the specific destination areas.
Once the column dropped on the destination area (labelled
"Dynamic Conditions (Input Fields)"), a new dynamic condition
appears (see 2 in the above screenshot). This dynamic condition uses
the column label as label for the generated search field. Any value
entered into the search field will be compared to the data in the
column "Persons.OrgUnit" using a LIKE operator. I.e. when a user
types in "IT", he would not only see all the persons directly
attached to the IT department and not to any group but all those
whose organic unit starts with "IT".
5. Run the report
We have finished our first simple report. It can now be executed by clicking the
wheels icon in the button bar at the top of the report editor:
Once clicked on the "Execute" icon, the report will be saved and
validated. If there are no errors, it will be executed in a new
window. As you can see
the result is a report that feels and works just like any other
You have a normal column selection and ordering button
and you can choose between HTML, Excel, XML and PDF output formats.
The Organic Unit filter (condition) that you added will show up
as a input field and Information Center will automatically know
that the field should contain an organic unit and will validate
whatever content is entered in the field. If the entered value does
not correspond to an organic unit, you will get an error message
when trying to execute the report.
6. Let's do something more complicated
We have prepared two more step by step tutorials.
Pivot Report using more than one table.
Training List using advanced expressions (Note, SQL
knowledge is required for this tutorial).
Information Center Manual
For those of you who want to know more we have also produced a
It is possible to create reports with charts. Charts are
supported in non-pivot reports for the output formats HTML and PDF. You can
even schedule reports containing a chart and have their results (incl. the
chart) sent in an email to you. To learn more about charting have a look at
the following dedicated charting page.
Scheduling of Reports
It is possible to define an Information Centre report and to have it executed automatically in regular intervals. The results of the report executions are sent by email to the people requiring them. An online help for the report scheduling functionality exists here.
I have some questions
A page of Frequently asked Questions and
Answers is also available.