View the Specify Schema

In general, a database schema refers to the logical structure of a database, which defines how data is organized, stored, and accessed in a database system.

The Specify database schema defines the tables, fields, relationships, and constraints that make up the database, as well as the rules and procedures for data entry, storage, retrieval, and manipulation. Not all components are customizable, but field and table labels, visibility, field formats, and controlled vocabularies (pick lists) can be!

Specify’s schema is designed to be flexible and customizable, allowing users to add or modify the visibility and labels of fields and tables as needed to accommodate their specific collection management needs. It provides a user-friendly interface for customizing and managing the schema.

Take a look at the most up-to-date interactive schema below:

Interactive Specify Schema

This is a static webpage that allows you to navigate between all of the tables and fields in the Specify schema. This is fast and supports English, Portuguese, Russian, and Ukrainian languages, but it does not have information about your customized schema within your installation.

Specify Data Model Viewer

Within your Specify 7 installation, you can explore the data model for your current schema configuration by navigating to:


From here, you can see all of the tables available, the assigned labels, whether they are hidden or system, and view if table records are “dependent” or “independent” on the base record they were created on.

Scoping in Specify

Also important is understanding Institutional Scoping and how data from a variety of collections, disciplines, and divisions can exist within a single database.

You can see previous versions of the database schema here.

Specify Schema 2.7 Poster

Full Size Poster PDF – A1 Size (23-3/8 x 33-1/8 in)

You can check out our visualized schema as well! This is not the latest version but it may be helpful in explaining the relationship between tables and for introducing & training users.

Great to be able to access it again! I printed it out in megaposter format and it’s been hanging on my office wall for 1.5+ years now. I would appreciate it if you could make an updated version some time soon.

1 Like

Thanks Fedor,
We will update it sometime. The amount of hand work needed to arrange 200 table boxes on a poster sized sheet, so that no relationship lines overlap is simultaneously mindless and stultifying. But the result is nice. We’ve tried several schema reverse-engineering tools over the years, and nothing is capable of automatically laying out such a large number of tables and relationships even half way. The only tool we have found for large poster sized layouts is Navicat. Here is what it looks like when you import it there and make a model of the schema, all of the tables need to be manually rearranged on a poster sized palette (lower right corner) for the relationship lines underneath to be revealed. We delete all the Agent links for most tables for the created by and updated by fields as they are in the way for visualization purposes. It would be a good project for a collaborator needing some mental break time. :wink:

I can well imagine the effort it will take to update/recreate this! :sweat_smile:

I just wanted to let you know that we really appreciate the work that has been done back then.

The poster on my wall elicits quite some discussion and it’s a great, visual aid to show people how the database actually works.