Stable link to this page:

Getting Started with Github for Arctos

Why Use GitHub for Arctos?

I’d also like to echo the value of the community from a development perspective. A broader perspective seems to make EVERYTHING better. I can often build stuff that just works out of the box because a bunch of people with very different perspectives looked at it before we started writing code. The key to an extremely robust locality model seems to have been getting parasitologists and ethnologists in the same conversation. Rapid digitization of a paleo collection drew heavily from stuff developed for a herbarium. Etc ad nauseum. I don’t think there’s any remote possibility that any “traditional” group of collections or developers could have built anything like Arctos; it’s a synthesis of the community. ~ Dusty McDonald, Arctos Programmer

The tool we use to accomplish what Dusty describes above is GitHub.

How to Get Started in GitHub

Then select the “Edit profile” button on the left side of your profile page.

You can add a photo to replace the GitHub generated avatar, but it isn’t completely necessary. The most helpful thing you can do here is to add your name and institution so that everyone working with you in Arctos will know who you are.

Be sure to save your edits! Now you are ready to get to know GitHub!

GitHub Membership Levels and Permissions

Anyone can view, post, or comment on an Arctos Issue. You do not need special permissions to do this. Without special permissions, however, you cannot label an issue, close an issue, assign an issue to another person, or assign a milestone to an issue.

Arctos Users Team

Any active Arctos user may request permission to become a member of the Arctos Users team.

Arctos Owner Team

Arctos Owners have administrative permissions.

VertNet, TDWG, and other GitHub Repositories

If you want to receive notifications (e.g., data issues) from VertNet, TDWG, or any other GitHub repository, your GitHub account needs to be added to them.

Managing GitHub Notifications

Once you have created your GitHub account and joined the Arctos repository, you will begin to get email from GitHub. Because our GitHub is very active, the amount of email can be overwhelming. So, how do you avoid 100 emails a day but still stay in touch?

You can manage email notifications in your GitHub settings, which you can access from your account profile or directly from the dropdown next to your GitHub avatar on any GitHub page when you are signed in.

To learn about GitHub Notifications and how to manage your GitHub experience in general, we suggest you read Managing your notifications

Watching vs Participating

So, the most confusing part is knowing when I am part of the conversation or just receiving comments from various issues that don’t involve me.

For each repository in GitHub you can select a participation setting. The setting you choose helps determine what kinds of notifications you receive. To see your watch settings for your GitHub repositories: in your GitHub profile select settings > Notifications and the linked text “things you are watching” at the top right of the page.

You will see a list of all of the GitHub repositories to which you have subscribed. For each one, you can choose the types of notifications you receive or not based upon the watch status you assign.

TIP Web Notifications - Don’t get any email from GitHub

With a bit of discipline, you can avoid receiving any email from GitHub and still follow the conversation. In your GitHub profile, select settings > Notifications and change “watching” and “Participating” to “Web”.


THEN set a reminder in your personal calendar to review GitHub issues. To do this, select the little blue bell next to your avatar.


You will be rewarded with a list of unread notifications. You can peruse the list, read the issues that interest you and mark those that don’t as “read”. Depending upon the level you wish to participate, you might check once or twice a day or once a week, but less than that might mean missing out on contributing to an important conversation.

Using Arctos Issues

See How to Use Issues in Arctos

Devolping Arctos with GitHub

Developers who are interested in Arctos code can view it in the ArctosDB/arctos and ArctosDB/DDL repositories.

Editing the Arctos Handbook

See How to Contribute Content to the Arctos Handbook

More advanced users can check out How to get the most out of Arctos-Github

Edit this Documentation

If you see something that needs to be edited in this document, you can create an issue using the link under the search widget at the top left side of this page, or you can edit directly here.