Using the Specify Command Line Data Export Program

The Specify Command Line Data Export Program (ExpCmdLine) is a software tool which enables database administrators to automate the process of producing exported collection records to update a Specify Web Portal, or to create tab-delimited text files of exported collection data for other uses.

Specify has a flexible mechanism for identifying which data fields will be included in an exported data file. Setting up a pipeline for exporting data includes a few steps and some additional software tools. The Specify Schema Mapper is an embedded tool accessible from the “System” menu for manager-level users. It enables the creation of an ‘Export Data Map’, which is a custom mapping between the data fields used in a Specify database and the data concepts one wishes to include and populate in an export file. The Specify Data Exporter application, a separate program included with Specify, is an interactive tool which uses an Export Data Map to copy the data in the mapped fields to a single table within the Specify MySQL database. This flat table in MySQL is an ‘index’ or ‘cache’ copy of the export data. Once an internal cache is created, the Data Exporter can either export the data as a flat, tab-delimited, text file (e.g. for GBIF’s IPT software to create a DarwinCore Archive data package), or data can be exported and associated configuration files packaged inside of a .zip file which can be saved and used for updating a Specify Web Portal.

The Command Line Data Export Program, included in the Specify installation, is similar in function to the Specify Data Exporter; it uses Export Data Maps to update a flat table internal cache and can also export that data to a tab-delimited test file or to a Web Portal zip package. The main difference between the two applications is that the Data Exporter is interactive whereas the Command Line Data Exporter can perform these actions in a “headless” environment which can be scripted.

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