PST Feedback (June 2006)

Summary from Joan Wrobel

    Summary of 31 VLA Responses to Request for PST Feedback
  Number of   Trouble Bin   Trouble Bin
   Mentions   Keyword       Description
         16   [overload]    overload near deadline
         14   [sessions]    sessions confusion
          9   [userdb]      userdb itself or a related to PST
          6   [formatting]  formatting of pdf or tab page
          4   [co-editing]  could not co-edit or wanted to
          3   [saving]      saving confusion not near deadline
          3   [navigation]  navigation confusion
          2   [solaris]     solaris bug
          1   [validation]  validation complaint



a quick bit of feedback from a colleague -- he put in a source
declination of -44:06:07.35, which is fine; but the PDF cover sheet
shows 44:06:07.35 .  Actually the "-" sign is there, but overlaps the
last digit of the RA, which in this case makes it effectively
invisible.  We should ensure that the Dec fits in the space allocated
for it on the form.

------------------------------------------------------- End Repsonse 1


Overall a good experience. I had an interesting catch 22 that I wanted
to share though.

I wanted to add "Wendy Lane Peters" as a Co-I.  I did the search on
her last name "Peters" and it found no one.

Next I entered in a new user but it would not let me since someone
with that *email* address already existed.

It wasn't until I searched on "Lane" that I discovered her.  The
Search part of the database uses last name, but the Verification part
of the database uses email. So if you get the name wrong in the search
you may not be able to add a user. This is a rare rare event.

------------------------------------------------------- End Repsonse 2

[userdb] [co-editing]

Jeremy and I hit two snags: (1) he could not update his affiliation
from OCIW to Colorado (2) edits that I made to the abstract in
Maryland did not seem to propagate to the version of the cover sheet
that he was viewing in Colorado.  If (2) is explained by my having
done something wrong, then I'd say things could at least be better

------------------------------------------------------- End Repsonse 3

[sessions] [userdb]

Overall I was pretty happy with the on-line proposal tool. I had two

1) Changing my information in the database (specifically my data of
graduation) did not change the information shown on the cover sheet in
proposals I was currently working on.

2) I had a lot of trouble filling out the session constraints.
Originally, I was trying to do it through the edit source/resource
pair tab on the left hand side of the screen. I couldn't get the
session constraints I filled in this way to stick all the time. It
would work for whatever source popped up when I got to the edit page,
but ignored any change I made in the source or resource pull down
box. However, clicking on the "add source/resource pair" button for an
individual session in the "View Sessions" tab worked. I also found it
confusing that the "add source/resource pair" button also would allow
me to edit the source/resource pairs.

------------------------------------------------------- End Repsonse 4

[overload] [sessions]

The PST, in one word, is simple: AWFUL!

I can live with the first two pages or tabs, General and Author and
the hassle of having to register. The next three "Tabs", Sources,
Resources and Sessions are just hopeless. They are counterintuitive to
the hilt and I only got my proposal validated through trial and error
and a dose of luck (and yes, I did look at the help and the manual).

Ideally, this part should be designed from scratch. A user should be
able to get through this without having to consult the manual, at
least for a run of the mill proposal.

Sorry to be so negative. I understand that it's not an easy tool to
get right...

P.S. and some problems with the submission. When I submitted my
proposal, I got TWO confirmations from the PST (and honest, I pressed
the submit button only once!); furthermore, Fabian Walter's proposal
was submitted by him, and I received a confirmation, but when I looked
at the "List of Proposals", it was listed still as Draft and I had to
press the red button once more to make the status change to Submitted
(this proposal had a validation problem as well which was not sorted
out by us in the end due to lack of time and utter frustration).

------------------------------------------------------- End Repsonse 5


I had a lot of trouble with the PST yesterday for proposal AB1223.  I
used the tool last time and did not remember having so much

In the end I think that I filled in the cover pages completely FIVE
times before I submitted the proposal. My basic problem was that while
I was religiously clicking the "save" button as I did each screen,
nothing was in fact being saved!

Once I gave PST a science justification PS file, things went better
but it made the hour before the deadline (when I finally realized that
I had nothing in the cover pages) chaos. Things were very confusing --
I even found myself editing forms from a previous proposal round at
one point!

The PST should be willing to save input when it is entered and ideally
have a clear indication that information has not only been entered to
PST but also saved for future use.  HST does this in a fairly useful
way by having a side bar that shows which form pages have been
completed and saved (Though appealing to their APT as an example does
seem perverse, because it can be very trying as well! Also APT is
saving stuff on the proposer's machine rather than the final
destination of the completed proposal at STScI).

When working on a proposal the order I do things is usually to do a
initial cut at the science justification, then get all the cover page
stuff in order, and then go back to the justification for final fine
tuning and sanity check before it gets uploaded at the end.  This
order of things did not seem to be what PST was expecting.

------------------------------------------------------- End Repsonse 6


The registration process for new users is atrociously designed. There
is a form of information to fill in, and a continue button at the
bottom.  But the form has several tabs that all have to be filled in,
and the continue button submits the form instead of proceeding to the
next set of fields to fill in.  This early submittal generates an
error message with very little information about what went wrong,
since the page that was submitted was completely filled in.

I recommend one long form with all the required fields on it, or have
the continue button go to the next tab until the last one.

------------------------------------------------------- End Repsonse 7

[overload] [overload]

The tool is fine, except I can't get the Scientific
Justification. When I push the "make pdf" button, it gives me only the
coversheet. When I hit "View Sci Just" there is nothing there. Seems
to be a bug?  I would really like it if "Make pdf" would do a pdf of
the entire thing. (Dave Meier had the same problem, so I don't think
it's just me)

------------------------------------------------------- End Repsonse 8


I thought the PST worked well. It was easy and intuitive to use, and
the bug I had seen last time was gone. The only problem I had this
time was that I could not put in Comments under Scheduling
Constraints. I would type them in, but they wouldn't be there when I
looked at that page afterwards. Perhaps I was doing something wrong; I
didn't take the time to investigate.

------------------------------------------------------- End Repsonse 9

[overload?] [formatting] [navigation]

I think the PST has matured a lot since the first version.  Very good
is the feature to let appear boxes with explanations when you drag the
mouse cursor over the buttons.

A few very small things:

At the Feb 01 deadline, I introduced some Co-Is to the person's list
of the database. (Some of them will probably never submit a VLA
proposal themselves, so they won't get an own login.) Now I wanted to
make changes for these persons (for instance, in the affiliation
string I has used umlauts which the coversheet program does not
reproduce correctly). So I can modify that for the running proposal
session and say "Accept", and it works for the current
session. However, these changes are not permanent, new session - the
old settings with umlauts again.

Related was the problem that I modified the persons' settings and
accepted it, and on the html coversheet the changes were included. (I
changed something in the affiliation of the first and second author,
to be precise.)  The order of the investigators was apparently
unchanged, as could be seen by means of the numbers in the small
pop-up menus beside the names.  However, when I created the PDF file
for the cover sheet, the two authors where I changed something were
now the last two persons of the author list in the PDF file. I saw no
way to circumvent this, so I finally deleted all authors except myself
and re-created the author list.  (Thereby, the old person settings
with umlauts came to surface again ;-)

But these are minor things, and I hope a deeper look into the
programming of PST can solve this little problem.

One suggestion: The name "Exit" for the button to go finally to the
page where you actually can submit your proposal, is not the best
choice, in my opinion. It insinuates somehow, that you close the whole
PST session. On February 01, I was a little bit in panic at this
point, because I only saw this Exit button and no Submit button ... Of
course, people would learn after a while. The helping box appears and
explains the button.  And one should of course read the PST manual if
one is a novice ... but I find that a more intuitive name for this
button could be found?!  ("go to submission" or something like that).
If you want you can introduce another button "Go to list of
proposals", which causes the same action: to lead the people to the
page where they can see the list of proposals and finally submit.

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 10


I used the PST for june 1 and thought it was just fine.  I had to get
used to the new jargon (resources etc.) but after going through the
process once, it made sense - even for an old VLAer like myself.  I do
miss getting to see the forms filled out, but again that is just my
dinosaurness showing - and the make pdf button works just fine.  The
make XML one didn't work for me.  I also had some trouble with some of
the popup windows and normal refreshes but this may be because the web
browser I started off with is antiquated (netscape 6 on Sun Solaris) -
I had no problem when I switched to my Linux box with mozilla though.

All in all - it was mostly painless and definitely the way to go...

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 11

[sessions] [userdb] [formatting]

I have a couple of comments about the PST tool (which, by the way, is
really nice).  Here I include the pdf file created by the PST of my
AA307 proposal to illustrate my comments.

1. Sometimes the text in a box extends into the next box: see for
example the email of Stan Kurtz and the first row of the "Sessions"
box in my proposal.

2. Some special characters are not displayed correctly in the
affiliation of the authors, see affiliation of Stan Kurtz and Hendrik
Linz in my proposal.

3. In my user profile I have my full address, but in the proposal my
address appeared incomplete.

4. In the "Session source/Resource Pairs", I would list the total time
that a source will be observed with a given resource, and also the
final rms to be achieved for a given source/resource regardless of how
many sessions are required to achieve the final rms. Right now, the
time and rms listed are the values for one session (i.e., one
observing run or night), which I think is not the appropriate
information in the cases when a source is going to be observed with
the same resource during several runs to achieve a desired final rms
noise.  For example, in the case of my proposal, we want to achieve an
rms noise of ~3mJy/b (10h total observing time) for the H2CO-2cm
spectra, so it makes more sense if 10h and 3mJy/b rms would be listed
in the "Session Source/Resource Pairs" box, instead of the rms and
time on source of a single run.

5. The units of velocity should be "km/s" no "Km/s". This is obviously
a minor point, but formally "K" means Kelvin.

6. The title of a box should be always on top of the respective box
and not in the previous page. See the title of the "Session
Source/Resource Pairs" box in my proposal.

I think the PST is quite good, it is very easy to use.

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 12

In response to this. My experience went very well.

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 13

[overload] [sessions] [co-editing]

I worked with Emanuela Orru' to submit two proposals:

VLA/06C-179; Restarted Activity in Giant Radio Sources

VLA/06C-182; Low Resolution Observation of the giant radio galaxy

I found the new PST largely improved and useful.

I have the following comments:

1) we would like to oberve in the 4P mode, but I was not able to find
it. Since (as usual) we wrote and submitted the proposal at the last
time I/we had no time to ask assistance therefore to have 6 hours in
4P mode we asked 3+3 hours (in 4 and P mode) and if we will have time
we will arrange the observe file to have 6 hrs in 4P

2) In the proposal VLA/06C-179 I was able to see and print the
attached justification file in the draft version, but now (after the
submission) I am not able to see it. It is ok the for the other

3) It is useful to have the possibility to see and to edit all the
proposals where I am involved but could be dangerous. Could be
possible that draft proposals as a first choice are read only for the
collaborators and read and write only for the PI? With the possibility
by the PI to modify it allowing collaborators to read and write the
draft proposal? If not possible I am happy with present version

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 14


I quite enjoy using the tool and it worked fine for my porposal. The
only bug I noticed is that a tmp file was always created even if I was
getting out of the tool the proper way (and got rid of the previous
one) so that I never knew which version between the tmp and the normal
version was the last one.

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 15

[overload?] [sessions] [userdb] [formatting] [solaris]

I found the Proposal Submission Tool friendly. There were a few
problems as I mentioned earlier:

1) I could not change the authors' order and make corrections in
author details

2) short help (explanation for each item which appears in the separate
window) was not visible in Mozilla on Solaris

3) not clear for me the resources/session part

I would also suggest to put a letter counter into Proposal Title
similarly as there is a word counter for the Abstarct,

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 16

[sessions] [sessions]

I found the web-based proposal submission tool to be a nice step
forward from the old tex-based proposal submission process (where I
had one proposal get "lost" in the mix).  In particular, the larger
allowable files, and the option of including color figures, are very
nice additions.

I do have one suggestion for improvement.  The section on actually
setting up the observations ("sessions", "resources", "source/resource
pairs", etc.) could have been explained in more detail.  Having used
the VLA before, I was pretty sure that I understood what was being
asked for here.  However, discussions with colleagues revealed that
there was considerable confusion as to how these sections were to be
filled out.  More detailed instructions would benefit the average VLA
user here.

I hope these comments are useful.  Congratulations on moving to the
web-based proposal submission tool.

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 17


Overall, the new PST is good. However, I had a somewhat bad experience
just before submission, when it started behaving erratically. I was
not able to Add or Edit or Delete Sessions, and when I tried to submit
the proposal, it naturally didnt let me, because of the many errors. I
was wondering if the PST could give a Warning if there are errors, but
let one Submit nevertheless ?

I think part of the problem must have been the last-minute overload
and the last-minute panic.

Thanks for asking for feedback !

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 18

[sessions] [formatting]

I received a mail from Lori Appel asking users to send you feedback on
the new Proposal Submission Tool.

In general, I found it an extremely useful tool, and fairly easy to
use, although it took a little time to get my head round the concept
of the source/resource pairs.  I like it, and I find it an improvement
on the old LaTeX forms.

The only thing I would like to see which is not currently present
would be a way of generating a PDF version which included both the
instrumental set-up part of the proposal and the Scientific
Justification, so that one could simply print out the entire proposal,
rather than generating a PDF of the proposal, and having to open and
print the justification separately.  I don't know whether this is
possible to do, but it would be a useful feature.

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 19

[sessions] [saving?]

I found the PST very easy to use in general.  I had a little trouble
uploading a ps file directly (had to upload a pdf), and we had that
confusion over how to specify 2 10 hr blocks, but otherwise this was
one of my smoothest online proposal submission experiences.

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 20

[overload] [navigation]

When using the PST tool for this most recent proposal round the most
significant problem I ran into was the tool freezing near the proposal
deadline. This caused a roughly one hour delay in my ability to submit
the proposal.

Other issues I ran into:

CO-I names: Although it appears that it should be possible to change
the order of the CO-I names when editing the proposal, all attempts to
view the proposal resulted in the names only appearing in the order in
which they were added, not the requested re-ordering made in the PST.

Resources: often when editing an existing resource after completing
the editing there would then be two copies of the resource, the
original and the edited one.

Login: when first logging into the PST it would immediately take you
to a screen that said I had been inactive too long and I had to click
login a second time.

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 21


I succesfully submitted a proposal on Thursday June 1 using the new
PST.  It was accepted as code AG735.  I experienced some difficulty.
I will describe my problems:

The bulk of my proposal was already in place and saved on the website.
On Thursday (June 1), around 1 pm EST, I wanted to go in, make a
couple small changes, and submit.  I was using a Windows (XP) machine,
and wanted to tweak my source/resource pair information (time on
source, expected rms, etc).  However, the online system exhibited
weird behavior when I tried to make the changes.  It would not save
the changes into the current source/resource pairs, it would only
create a new pair (even when I selected the "edit source/resource
pairs" option).  Furthermore, when I tried to "delete all"
source/resource pairs, it would delete the new one, but leave the two
existing pairs.  It would not delete either of those, no matter how
hard I tried.  I also tried to re-arrange the order of my authors, but
the PST would not make those changes.  Since the PST was unresponsive
on my Windows computer, I tried to make the changes on a Linux (Redhat
Enterprise v.3) machine.  There, I was able to modify my
source/resource pairs, but it still wouldn't re-order the authors.  So
I saved the changes on the Linux machine, and submitted the proposal
(from the Linux machine).

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 22


I was happy to have an online tool for submitting the VLA proposal. I
also found the tab structure convenient and easy to use. Instituting a
time limit seems fair and having the counter with time elapsed is
helpful. However, there were a few problems, some of which I am sure
you are aware of:

1. The server crashed half hour prior to submission. As you can
imagine, this was a severe and stressful problem! It would be nice if
when the server crashes, an email is sent (from a separate server)
informing the proposers about the crash, AND extending the deadline.

2. I had trouble uploading the scientific justification pdf. This
might have been related to the crash, however it seemed that the pdf
uploaded fine (even showed the byte size of the file in the
application), but during submission the missing file caused a "failure
to submit". A message on the PST site stating "successful uploading"
vs.  "unsuccessful uploading" would improve this situation by making
the status more clear. Also the "help" page should include some
trouble-shooting... not just the explanations for each entry field.

3. After the server was rebooted, my proposal was lost. Even though I
had been working on the proposal for weeks and had saved each time,
when I signed back in to the proposal tool, my application was
completely erased! In a frantic 15 minutes I was barely able to
re-enter all the information. However, under those circumstances it is
difficult to double-check the accuracy of the inputs and errors would
hurt my proposal. I had a saved pdf version of my application. I
suggest having an output that also can serve as an input in these
cases. For example the sources can be uploaded by a file formatted by
ra,dec,epoch, ... The entire application could be uploaded through a
similar file --- the initial file would be a product of the gui
application, and thus appropriately formatted. But in such cases where
the application is lost a quick uploading of such a file would save a
lot of panic!

Hope these suggestions are useful. Thank you for the opportunity to
provide feedback!

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 23


Our proposal was submitted by another participant, therefore I cannot
evaluate the tool. However, I encountered difficulties when I tried to
register myself according to a NRAO User Database software e-mail.
Indicating the address given in the e-mail ( )
at first I could not reach the correct page. It seems that the success
depends on correct browser settings.  If so, the settings should be
given in the User Database software e-mail.

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 24

[overload] [sessions] [userdb] [co-editing]

here is some feedback on the PST. I had sme trouble with the tool when
working with Paul Martini on his proposal.

1/ It was not possible to change the PI, as I created the proposal
   file when Paul's info was not added. In order to change this, I
   needed to delete him and re-add him.

2/ changing the order of the investigator. I think in the end, Paul
   had to delete and add people again.

3/ the editing of the session, project(?) pairs was not really
   obvious.  also changing something in the set_up required starting
   from scratch

4/ at some point I was not able to view the scientific justification

5/ It is not clear how it is prevented that multiple people are
   editing a proposal at the same time.

6/ it was not always clear, what information was required, e.g. LST
   range and elevation limit, could be redundant

Otherwise, things were smoother than I expected.  Please, let me know
if something is unclear.

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 25

[overload] [validation]

Overall I thought the PST was easy to use and worked well. However
there were 2 problems:

1) My proposal did not get submitted properly. I had an email about
this and then NRAO staff sorted it out without further effort from me,
so that was OK in the end.

2) I got validation problems due to my target frequency being just
outside the allowed Q-band range, despite the fact that looking at the
range of allowed frequencies on the high-frequency webpage shows that
my frequency was OK. For continuum mode, the PST would not let me
choose my frequency, but for spectroscopy mode it would. My particular
observing strategy was using continuum mode to observe a line, so it
is not logical that only spectroscopy mode is allowed for this
frequency. I would suggest just giving a validation warning about the
frequencies and not preventing the completion of the proposal.

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 26


I have two main comments on the new PST:

1. The new PST is a large improvement over the old proposal submission
method.  It is easy to use and very convenient.  I also like how there
are many places to insert comments in the forms, as some choices
inevitably need explaining.  It is also nice that it creates a pdf
cover sheet for you in an easy to read and standard format.  Finally
it is of great convenience to the submitters to be able to log in and
see past proposals, as well as for co-authors to see proposals as they
are being constructed.  Overall the new PST is very well designed.

2. The PST did not function properly in several instances.  First I
was unable to upload my scientific justification file.  Then, I was
unable to change the order of the authors.  Also, when I tried to edit
a "session", rather than changed appearing in that session, a new
session was created.  In the final hours before the submission
deadline, the PST would often "hang" or be extremely slow.  Finally,
when I was ready to submit, it wouldn't let me because of an "internal
error".  This caused me to miss the 5pm (eastern time) deadline.  I
called Lori Appel, who was very helpful and assured me that it would
still be accepted even if it was late and that I should try later when
the traffic had died down.  Finally at about 5:40pm, the submission

Conclusion: The new PST is a very convenient and well designed tool,
but needs to be made more robust, so that it functions as it is

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 27

[sessions] [userdb] [formatting] [saving] [navigation]

I didn't take notes, but here's a couple of things off top of my head.

1. Lose the double login.  Extremely confusing.

2.  Couldn't go back and modify PhD year of co-I. (I could have
deleted and re-entered)

3. I found navigation difficult, may just take getting used to - but
the definitions of the different elements, source-pair, etc, etc. was
quite cumbersome.  I think there needs to be more human engineering
into making this understandable - sorry can't be more specific without
sitting down with it.

4.  Saving was very confusing.  When I would log in later on (perhaps
my browser left me logged in at some level), I'd get a message about
things unsaved, when I thought I saved - can't remember it all.  This
is probably connected with the double login - VERY confusing.

5. There is no link to help.

6. There is no link to help.

7. There is no link to help.  (Yeah, I think that one's important).

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 28

[overload] [sessions]

I had a couple of difficulties with the PST, particularly as I was
proposing 4P mode which requires some jerry-rigging as noted in the
help manual.

The most irritating problem I had, was that I would set up a resource,
and a source.  Then I would add the resource-source pair to the
session, and it would send me to the edit page to fill in the details.
When I tried to save that page (the one with things like the length of
time to observe the pair) I would get told that both the source and
the resource didn't exist so the pair couldn't be created.  Nothing I
did would let me save that page.

I finally figured out that if, on the sidebar, I went back to the "add
source-resource" pair page, and then selected "edit" next to the pair
I had just added, I could modify them and put in the time request just

This happened repeatedly on two different proposals.

On one of my proposals I was unable to remove or rename the first
session I had created.  I deleted it multiple times, but it would just
show back up.  If I edited it to a new name it made a copy, which was
deletable, but the original remained as well.  It would show up in the
total time request, and on the summary page, so it was really still in
the proposal.

On several proposals I had difficulty accessing the postscript
justification file uploaded by somebody else.  Basically nothing
happened when I tried to do it.  We ended up emailing around files a

One thing, I wish it were possible to put resources for a specific
configuration (C-config for example) and resources specified as "Any
Configuration" into the same session, but I couldn't.

those were the difficulties I most remember.  Overall I found it a bit
confusing (took me forever to hunt down the 4P stuff), but not
impossibly so.  Basically anything that isn't .tex templates is going
to take some getting used to for me.  It would perhaps help if I, like
every other astronomer, didn't always leave things until the last

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 29


just back from travel, & found Lori's email saying you'd appreciate
feedback on the Proposal Tool.  I'm forwarding Tim Hankins' message to
me -- because he also left town immediately after trying to submit
this VLA proposal, he may not have had time to get feedback to you.
As you can see from this email, lots of things didnt work, and Susan
Loveland tried to fix our problems by hand.  [The "extra session"
problem means that we had to rewrite a "session" request due to some
problem, & could not delete the first session we'd entered.]

p.s.  Is there a way for me to check the proposals status using
PropTool?  I looked & couldn't find anything.


Susan Loveland fixed the extra "Session" problem. But when I went to
talk to her about it, she found that our "Justification" had not been
submitted. Apparently the database system choked during the last hour
before the deadline and rejected lots of stuff. I guess the user
interface is only loosely coupled to the data base engine, so it
didn't know that things weren't being put in the database. The upshot
is that Susan put in the justification by hand, and resubmitted the
proposal for us, but, the proposal number got changed so that it now
looks like a submission for the next (October 1) deadline. She will
fix this when she fixes a whole bunch of other small things. So the
Proposal code as I first submitted it was: VLA/ 06C-232, and after
Susan submitted it, it was VLA/06A-124. The "C" indicates June
submission, the "A" indicates October submission.So if you get back
before I do and check on the status of the proposal, which I presume
one can do using the Proposal Tool, it should have a "C", where now
there is an "A".

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 30

[sessions] [co-editing]

in response to this request I can mention a couple of difficulties
that I found using the PST.

1) we could not find a way to include the 4P band as a single VLA

2) in proposals that involve collaborators from different institutions
and all of them work on the PST, the permissions to delete do not work
for everybody. As far as I could recognize, only the person who
entered some data or file can remove it.

In brief, in a multi-party project, there are troubles to delete or
correct the information.

------------------------------------------------------ End Repsonse 31

[gbt tool]

I wanted to suggest an option for the PST.  My coauthors and I had
assumed that any of us would be able to edit the *GBT proposal* that
we were submitting together.  Instead, only I, the author that created
the proposal on the UDB could edit it; the other authors could only
view it.  Perhaps you've already thought of good reasons why this
might be a bad idea, but it seems to us that allowing each of the
co-authors the ability to edit the proposal would be convenient.  The
first author on a proposal can be changed, and we took advantage of
this feature, yet the new first author was not able to take control of
the submission or editing process; this was frustrating.  Just wanted
to offer this observation, which I had never encountered during PST
testing or actual PST use since I've usually been the only person
involved in my previous proposals.


[gbt tool]

Note: this feedback is for the *GBT proposal* submission tool,
although the email from Lori Appel indicated it was for a VLA

-When customizing the GBT back and front-end selection, the
calculators and tools available within the PST offered a very easy
method for planning an observing run.

-Not having to format, in detail, from within LaTeX was a big help.
That the PST is entirely web based is great.

-However, there is not a good way to update and save the contents of
the fields other than hitting "Enter", which lead a few times for me
to not having a field updated appropriately, since I often hit the
save button to save new information in the field.  It would seem more
intuitive this way.

-The "Help" hyperlinks in the "Student Support" section pointed to the
wrong place within the help documentation.

-The student support section help pages were poorly documented in that
their descriptions of certain fields was unclear or incomplete.

-This may not have a practical fix: when viewing, and previewing, the
finished proposal, there is no way to view the scientific
justification from within the web browser.  And there should be a way
to create a PDF of the whole proposal, not just the cover sheet.  Or
some way to download, and save, the whole proposal in either PDF or ps
form.  When writing a proposal only in LaTeX, or similar earlier
formatting methods, there were easy ways to hold on to a complete, and
single-file, copy of the finished proposal.

-Minor: There is no way to copy existing submitted proposals, for
similar follow-up proposals it would be good to be able to start with
the previous proposal to then alter and/or expand the succeeding


-- DanaBalser - 02 Nov 2007
Topic revision: r1 - 2007-11-02, DanaBalser
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