Informer FAQs
Posted by Connie Minnick on 30 April 2009 11:41 AM
BC Informer FAQs and Information

  1. How do I access Informer?
  2. I can't see all the files and/or fields that I need to.  What should I do?
    • We have only loaded the base portions of the files that we thought would most be used.  In order to keep the meta-file (dictionaries) clean, we did not load all of the computer columns (Idescriptors) for some files like (PERSON), etc.
    • We would like users to learn to use the pointers to get to the data you need rather than depend on those computed columns that simply did a trans to another file for a piece of information.  Computed Columns that calculated something or otherwise had logic in them will need to be loaded.
    • Please send an email to HELP requesting any files or fields you cannot see.  We will either add the computed columns, or will instruct you as to which pointer will get you all the data in the other file (which is usually the most efficient way).
  3. I can only see a few fields in PERSON when I know there are hundreds of fields there. Why is that?
    • There are many pieces of data and computed columns in that file that are private and therefore only certain offices should be able to access (financial and computed columns, etc).  Therefore, we adopted an access policy that mirrors the access policy on Colleague menus, which is that you have no access unless explicitly granted.  Don't be surprised if you can't see things.  Just let us know that you are missing something that you need.
  4. How do I name my reports?
    • PLEASE follow the naming convention that we have already set forth.  The report name should be something like  The description field of the report can be as long as you like it.  Please give an accurate description of what the report does in this field.
  5. I can see the report details, but it doesn't look like I can change anything.  How do I change the report?
    • If you cannot change anything on the report, then the report is locked.  You will see a lock symbol and the words "This report is locked."
    • Only the owner of the report can unlock the report.  If you want to use the report but you need to add additional fields to it, click on the details option next to the title of the report and then find the user settings option.
    • When using the user setting option, you can add/delete fields as you please and also sort/group differently than the original template. This WILL NOT mess up the original template. 
    • If you want to modify the criteria a little bit and make a completely different report, you can copy the report but be sure to rename the copy. Do not leave the report as a copy in the name.
  6. How do I let others access my reports?
    • You allow others access to your report by sharing your report.  On the report template there is an option called sharing.  You can share your report with specific offices or individuals.  Remember not to set these reports to public because anyone with informer access would be able to see the report.  Also, don't set to private, because you will be the only one that can see the report. Others in your office will not be able to see the report if it is set to private.
  7. Why can't I see the SSN field?
    • In order to comply with federal law, only people that must see SSN and ethnicity as a part of their job can see those fields.  If one of those fields is a part of the report, the report will still launch, but those fields won't display if the person doesn't have access to those fields.
  8. What are the "tags" that I see and who developed them?
    • Tags are a way of organizing your reports. Each office came up with specific tags and each individual user may have their own tags for their reports
    • Reports can appear in multiple tags, there is no limit.  However, there is only one true copy of the report.
  9. I deleted a report that I needed, can I retrieve it?
    • NO.  Once a report is deleted, it cannot be retrieved.  You would have to rebuild the report.  These reports are stored in the database and the entire database would have to be restored, which would eliminate any work that others performed on their reports.  Please use caution when you wish to delete a report.  If you truly delete a report, it deletes it from all the tags it appears in.
    • If you think you want to delete a report, we recommend instead that you create an "obselete" or "archive" tag such as ADM-Archive.  You can tag that report in your archive tag and then determine at a later date (6 months, year) if it is safe to delete it.
  10. I just logged into informer, but I can't see ANY reports or tags.
    • By default, ANY person with a username/password can access this site. However, until we assign them valid roles, they have a role of "NO ACCESS", which prevents them from seeing anything.
    • If you used to see reports, but you no longer can, send a ticket to HELP stating that you are no longer able to access reports.  Something may have happened where permissions were temporarily lost.  This can quickly be fixed.
  11. Sometimes I am seeing Field Descriptions instead of the Field Names? How did that happen?
    • On the top right of the informer report website, there is an option called "Toggle Display".  This switches back and forth between field names and field descriptions.  Simply click the toggle display again to switch to the other mode.
  12. Is there a tutorial on Informer or Documentation?
    • On the top right of the Informer report website, there is an option called "Documentation" another browser window will open.  There is a user guide, informer wiki, features and fixes, and instructional webinars. You can also find videos on youtube for informer


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