Welcome to the Specify Collections Consortium Forum!

Members of any level can access our community discussions, ask questions about specific functions or workflows in Specify, give feedback on the development of Specify software, and view our entire library of documentation for all Specify applications and services.

Members can register with their institution’s email address. If you are a member who is having trouble creating an account or a perspective member who would like to join the Specify Collections Consortium, contact support@specifysoftware.org.

Navigating the Speciforum

To begin, there are some navigation tips that you should become familiar with.

Welcome Banner

On the home page, there is a welcome banner that includes several common options!

Create a Topic automatically opens the topic composition window, allowing you to create a new topic and post in any available category.

Ask a Question automatically composes a topic in the Get Help category with the Unsolved tag.

Documentation opens the Specify Documentation page that can be sorted based on category, tag, and title.

Email Support opens your native mail client and creates a draft addressing support@specifysoftware.org. You can use this if you have an issue with the forum, a problem containing confidential or private information, or would prefer to submit issues through email.

Navigation Menu

You can click on the Specify logo to return to the home page.

To the right of the logo, you have the Search function.

You can type any value into the search bar. You can choose to search within the current topic or to search within all topics and posts. Pressing Enter automatically searches all posts and topics in the dialog.

In the search results dialog, you can see the name of the post, the category, and the tags associated with it.

You can click on the config button to add special filters to your search.

User Options

On the far right of the navigation menu, there is the user profile and options.

The hamburger menu opens a fast navigation menu that links to many areas in the forum. You can see all posts based on specific criteria, all tags, users on the site, docs, groups, badges, categories, about, keyboard shortcuts, this introduction, and control your light and dark mode options.

The user menu has four sections:

  • bell- All notifications from posts you are watching or involved in, awards, and general announcements
  • bookmark - This contains all topics that you have bookmarked
  • envelope - All direct messages from users on the forum will appear here
  • user - This is the user preferences, where you can see a summary of your user account, activity, drafts, preferences, enable do not disturb, or log out of your account.

Navigating Discourse

At the top of the home page body, you will see the following bar:

You can choose a category from the all categories button. From here, you can seelect a category and view all of the posts that are contained within.

To the right of the cateogry chooser, there is the all tags button. When selected, you can select from the list of every tag and view only posts with the chosen tag attached. This can be used at the same time as the category selection.

Both of these lists can be searched as well.

  • Categories is selected by default, showing all of the categories on the left side of the body and the most recent topics on the right side.
  • Latest shows the newest topics in a list view on the body.
  • Top shows the top interacted with topics on the forum from a selected range.
  • Docs brings you to the documentation page.

New Topic

  • New Topic opens the composition window to create a new topic.

Creating a Topic

When creating a new topic, you need to give it a Title, category, tags, and body.


From the compose dialog, you will be able to select from a list of categories! You can post your topic in any category that you feel is appropriate.


Tags are category-specific, but these allow you to label and sort by various characteristics. For instance, if you are asking for help or have a question about Specify, you should choose the Get Help category! From here, you can assign the post one of two tags, Unsolved or Solved.

Once your issue has been solved, you can edit the original topic and change the tag to Unsolved to let the community know it has been resolved!

If you are contributing documentation that is a video or webinaror another discussion related to a particular version of Specify, tags exist for each of those purposes!

Content Availability

Some content is restricted to members of the Specify Collections Consortium.

All Users

All users can access the following categories and tags:


Members have access to our full catalog of webinars, make requests, give feedback on development, converse with collections of any discipline, contribute to the governance of the SCC, and gain the ability to ask questions, make replies, and create posts.

This is a Civilized Place for Public Discussion

Please treat this discussion forum with the same respect you would a public park. We, too, are a shared community resource — a place to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation.

These are not hard and fast rules, merely guidelines to aid the human judgment of our community and keep this a clean and well-lighted place for civilized public discourse.

Improve the Discussion

Help us make this a great place for discussion by always working to improve the discussion in some way, however small. If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.

The topics discussed here matter to us, and we want you to act as if they matter to you, too. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.

One way to improve the discussion is by discovering ones that are already happening. Spend time browsing the topics here before replying or starting your own, and you’ll have a better chance of meeting others who share your interests.

Be Agreeable, Even When You Disagree

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But remember to criticize ideas, not people. Please avoid:

  • Name-calling
  • Ad hominem attacks
  • Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content
  • Knee-jerk contradiction

Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.

Your Participation Counts

The conversations we have here set the tone for every new arrival. Help us influence the future of this community by choosing to engage in discussions that make this forum an interesting place to be — and avoiding those that do not.

Discourse provides tools that enable the community to collectively identify the best (and worst) contributions: bookmarks, likes, flags, replies, edits, and so forth. Use these tools to improve your own experience, and everyone else’s, too.

Let’s leave our community better than we found it.

If You See a Problem, Flag It

Moderators have special authority; they are responsible for this forum. But so are you. With your help, moderators can be community facilitators, not just janitors or police.

When you see bad behavior, don’t reply. It encourages the bad behavior by acknowledging it, consumes your energy, and wastes everyone’s time. Just flag it. If enough flags accrue, action will be taken, either automatically or by moderator intervention.

In order to maintain our community, moderators reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time. Moderators do not preview new posts; the moderators and site operators take no responsibility for any content posted by the community.

Always Be Civil

Nothing sabotages a healthy conversation like rudeness:

  • Be civil. Don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech.
  • Keep it clean. Don’t post anything obscene or sexually explicit.
  • Respect each other. Don’t harass or grief anyone, impersonate people, or expose their private information.
  • Respect our forum. Don’t post spam or otherwise vandalize the forum.

These are not concrete terms with precise definitions — avoid even the appearance of any of these things. If you’re unsure, ask yourself how you would feel if your post was featured on the front page of the New York Times.

This is a public forum, and search engines index these discussions. Keep the language, links, and images safe for family and friends.

Keep It Tidy

Make the effort to put things in the right place, so that we can spend more time discussing and less cleaning up. So:

  • Don’t start a topic in the wrong category.
  • Don’t cross-post the same thing in multiple topics.
  • Don’t post no-content replies.
  • Don’t divert a topic by changing it midstream.
  • Don’t sign your posts — every post has your profile information attached to it.

Rather than posting “+1” or “Agreed”, use the Like button. Rather than taking an existing topic in a radically different direction, use Reply as a Linked Topic.

Post Only Your Own Stuff

You may not post anything digital that belongs to someone else without permission. You may not post descriptions of, links to, or methods for stealing someone’s intellectual property (software, video, audio, images), or for breaking any other law.

Powered by You

This site is operated by your friendly local staff and you, the community. If you have any further questions about how things should work here, open a new topic in the site feedback category and let’s discuss! If there’s a critical or urgent issue that can’t be handled by a meta topic or flag, contact us via the staff page.

Terms of Service

Yes, legalese is boring, but we must protect ourselves – and by extension, you and your data – against unfriendly folks. We have a Terms of Service describing your (and our) behavior and rights related to content, privacy, and laws. To use this service, you must agree to abide by our TOS