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CDE Browser User Guide | 2 - Searching with CDE Browser

This chapter provides basic overview information about CDE Browser and accessing and navigating CDE Browser.

The chapter includes the following topics.

CDE Browser Overview

The CDE (Common Data Element) Browser is the primary starting point for exploring the contents of the cancer Data Standards Repository (caDSR). CDE Browser supports searching for, downloading, and sharing of CDEs within or across contexts. You can also share CDEs with caDSR Form Builder to build and edit forms.

caDSR Glossary

For a thesaurus of terms, see NCI Thesaurus.

The following terminology is used when discussing data elements within forms:

  • Context is a limitation placed on a form indicating where the form can be used. An example of a context is an organization.
  • Classification is a way to classify a part or entire form.
  • Form is a collection of questions or modules that can be updated or copied.
  • Modules comprise a group of questions within a form.
  • A Question with associated Valid Values prompts users for information with a choice of answers.
  • Common Data Elements (CDEs) are standard items, such as questions and answers, in caDSR that are accessible for use and re-use from the CDE Browser.

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In CDE Browser, you can save a customized set of CDEs to the CDE Cart and share the cart with Form Builder (as long as you have the same login credentials for both applications). You can then use Form Builder to access the saved CDEs or retrieve them during another session to create case report forms. Items placed in the CDE Cart are a copy and not automatically updated if the caDSR CDE or form changes. If an item changes, you must place the item in the Cart again for it to be updated.

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Supported Browser

If there is problem with caDSR, ensure that you are using Mozilla Firefox before contacting Application Support (

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Launching CDE Browser

To launch CDE Browser

Use the following URL: The current release number of the tool is indicated in the banner located at the bottom of the CDE Browser window.

The CDE Browser window opens.

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Log In Credentials and Changing Your Password

You do not need to log in to search in CDE Browser, but if you want to save CDEs to the CDE Cart for access in Form Builder and across sessions, you need to have the same login credentials in both applications.

You can request caDSR login credentials by sending an email to Application Support. If you forgot your password or need to change it or got locked out of your account, you can use the caDSR Password Change Station. For more information, see Using the Password Change Station.

CDE Browser Window

The following is the CDE Browser home page.

CDE Browser Home Page



  • CDE Cart displays the CDE Cart where you can save CDEs for future use. 
  • Form Builder opens the Form Builder tool.
  • Help opens the CDE Browser User Guide.
  • Logout ends the current CDE Browser session.

The links access caDSR tools, the Admin Tool, CDE Curation Tool, and the Sentinel Tool. The links also access NCI tools, the NCI Metathesaurus and the NCI Terminology Server.

  • What's New opens a page describing new CDE Browser features and providing a link to Release Notes.
  • Available Downloads provides direct access to the caDSR hosted data downloads where you can obtain pre-configured downloads of commonly desired groups of CDEs.

Program Area Tabs

CDE Program Areas

The program area tabs filter the contexts listed in the search tree to the selected program area.

Search Tree

The search tree in the left panel lists program names of the selected program area. The search tree uses a hierarchical structure to display various groupings of forms and templates within a context.

Navigation Tree on left

For more information, see Finding Information in the Search Tree.

Search Panel

CDE Browser Search panel

The top panel provides a Data Element Search and a Public ID Search tab along with a tab to modify Search Preferences.

For more information, see Searching with CDE Browser.

Search Results

Search Results

When you click a CDE Long Name in the search results, you can view additional tabs of data element information. You can select and download CDEs to different formats, add them to the CDE Cart, and compare the selected CDEs.

For more information, see Managing CDE Browser Search Results.

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Important Navigation Tips

This application does not support the use of standard browser navigation buttons. This includes your browser's Back, Forward, and Refresh buttons. If you use them to navigate within the application, you may get unexpected results, so use the navigation links within the application window itself.

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Technical Tips

  • When exporting data from CDE Browser and Form Builder, you are prompted to either Open or Save the resulting file. We recommend that you choose Save. Attempting to open an XML file without saving it first may result in the file not opening properly.
  • We recommend that your screen resolution be set to at least 1024x768 if possible.

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Finding Additional CDE Browser Information

CDE Browser can find CDEs associated with protocol forms, but for more detailed information about forms, see the caDSR Form Builder.

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CDE Browser User Guide | 2 - Searching with CDE Browser
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