attachment Attachments

Specify allows several file types to be attached to records:

  • text

  • audio

  • video

  • binary

  • pdf

  • image (jpg, png, gif, tiff)

  • html

  • spreadsheet

  • others

Attach Files

Files can be attached to records via the Form system, WorkBench Uploads, and Attachment Tools.

View Attachments and Associated Information

Attachment Tools enable users to browse thumbnail representations of all attachments associated with a collection in a workspace window. The browse can also be limited to show only image attachments.

Attachments associated with a single record can be viewed using the Form system.

Double clicking an image attachment thumbnail in either a form or the attachment browser will open the file in a Specify tab. Double clicking a non-image attachment will open it in the appropriate application on the workstation. If Specify can not find the appropriate application it may be necessary to export the attachment and open it from within the application itself.

The Attachment Tools can be used to view/browse a limited set of attachments by first creating a query in the Query Builder, then clicking the attachment Attachment button located on the Query Results Tool Bar.

Note: thumbnails are created for jpg, png and most pdfs. Other file types are represented by a default thumbnail based on their file type.

Information associated with the attachment can be viewed in the Attachment Tools, including associated record information and any available metadata.

Store Attachments

Attachments are copied, renamed using a unique string, and stored in an Attachment Storage location. Only the path to the attachment storage location is stored in the Specify database. The Specify Setup Wizard sets a default storage location on the local drive but this location can be changed in System Preferences:

  • For Mac: Specify > Preferences > System > Attachment Storage Location.
  • For PC and Linux: Choose Edit > Preferences > System > Attachment Storage Location.

Attachments can be stored on a local hard drive, network drive or an attachment server. When storing attachments on a local or network drive, Specify creates a directory named ‘originals’ for storing the attachment files, and a directory named ‘thumbnails’ for storing the thumbnails it creates. These directories are created within the specified attachment storage directory.

When storing attachments on a local drive attachments may not be shared with other workstations. For example, if User 1 attaches an image and stores it on their local drive and User 2 logs into their instance of Specify on another workstation, User 2 will not be able to access the attachment.

Storing attachments on a network drive allows the attachments to be shared. In the example above, storing the attachments on a network drive will allow User 2 to view, open and export attachments.

Museums with access to IT personnel may consider storing attachments in an attachment server. This is an alternative to storing attachments on a network drive and allows a web server to directly access the attachment location.

Note: all collections within the same Division must share a directory in the storage location. If a directory is not shared, tables which share data will not have access to attachments. For instance, within Specify two collections in the same Divison share Agent information. If each collection stores its attachments in unique directories in the storage location and an attachment is added to an Agent record in Collection 1 information within the Agent record will be accessible for users in Collection 2, but the Agent Attachment will not be available and will show a status of missing.

Change Computer/Backup Attachments

Attachments are not stored in the database and therefore are not included in a backup of a database. Only the path to the attachment storage location is included in the database. Attachments stored on a local hard drive should be backed up as part of the local system backup procedure.

To access attachments on an alternate computer when the attachment storage location is on a local hard drive will require the attachment directory to be copied to the alternate computer. Copy the attachment storage location/directory into the exact same path on the new computer. For example: If John Smith is using machineA but upgrades to machineB and his attachment storage path is c:/users/john/myattachments he will need to copy the entire myattachments directory from machineA to machineB and place the myattachments directory in c:/users/john.

To access attachments on an alternate computer when the attachment storage location is on either a shared network drive or attachment server, simply change the attachment path in the System Preferences on the new computer.