Usually SVN repository is used in our research project. In BII, the usual way to check out the repository is by excecuting:
svn co --username Youruname --password Yourpwd svn://cvs.bii.a-star.edu.sg/svn/YourProjectName
If you are from outside bii, do this first:
telnet cvs.bii.a-star.edu.sg 4898
SVN or subversion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apache_Subversion) is for version control. This (http://aymanh.com/subversion-a-quick-tutorial) is a nice quick tutorial, and this red-bean (http://svnbook.red-bean.com/en/1.6/index.html) covers more detail of svn and how to use it.
WARNING: Before you commit in any changes (using "svn ci"), please do a "svn up" to update your local copy first.