Metadata-enhanced directory lists – rdals

The rdals utility gives users access to enhanced metadata that provides titles for RDA directories in /glade/p/rda/data as well as descriptions for files in the /glade/p/rda/data/dsnnn.n subdirectories. Some data sets may contain incomplete metadata or file list information due to ongoing development.

Enter rdals -h at your command line for a description of how to use the utility.

The utility displays four columns of information. When listing directories, the columns are:

Directory Name, Data Volume, File Count, Brief Description

When listing files, they are:

File Name, Data Size, Data Format, Brief Description

A leading letter is displayed on each line to indicate what type of item is listed:

  • D indicates a whole data set.
  • G indicates a group or subgroup in a data set.
  • F indicates a data file.

Here is a sample of the output from rdals /glade/p/rda/data/:

Dds351.0    3.35T   179381  NCEP ADP Global Upper Air Observational Weather Data, October 1999 - continuing
Dds351.1  549.47G   256574  NCEP ADP ETA/NAM Upper Air Observation Subsets, October 2000 - continuing
Dds353.4  180.17G     2004  NCEP ADP Operational Global Upper Air Observations, December 1972 - February 2007
Dds358.0       0B        0  Ptarmigan Dropsondes (Arctic reconnaissance) for 1950-1961
Dds359.0    2.93M        7  NOAA Profiler Network (NPN) Observations, 1992 May-continuing
Dds365.0       0B        0  Sadler's Global Aircraft Observations, daily 1960-1973
Dds366.0  407.77G     2162  ERA-40 Global Upper Air Radiosonde Observation Feedback Record Reports
Dds367.0    5.22G     1129  ERA-40 Global Upper Air Satellite Wind Observation Feedback Record Reports

Usage options

Usage: rdals [-d] [-f] [-N] [-h] [-r] [-D DelimitSymbols] [-R RecursiveLevel] [Directory/File List]

  • Option -d, list directory information only. Directory information is included as default. Add this option to exclude file information;
  • Option -f, list file information only. File information is included as default. Add this option to exclude directory information;
  • Option -N, list files unformatted;
  • Option -h, display this help document;
  • Option -r, list directories and files recursively;
  • Option -R, list directories and files recursively up to the level provided with this Option;
  • Option -D, specify delimiting symbols for dividing the columns. It defaults to "  " for formatted output and '|' for unformatted output. Make sure quote the symbols if any character in the symbols has Unix meaning, for example -D '<:>';
  • Directory/File List is optional; without specification, all directories and files in the current directory. Unix command line wildcards are supported.

Nothing is displayed if neither directory nor file information matches information stored in the RDA database.


To check directories and files in data set dsnnn.n:

Change to the data set directory.

cd /glade/p/rda/data

Execute rdals, adding the recursive option -r to check directories and files further in the subdirectories (or cd to a subdirectory to check the files).

rdals -r dsnnn.n


Pass an absolute path to rdals.

rdals /glade/p/rda/data/dsnnn.n/

If your current directory is in another data set directory, such as /glade/p/rda/data/ds277.7, you can pass a relative path to the target directory.

rdals ../dsnnn.n/ or rdals  ../dsnnn.n/*