FAQ – Collection Management

Question: How do I add new editors to my collection?

Answer: Before a user can get access to the collection management tools, they will need to create a user account within the portal. This can be done by clicking on the “New Account” link found within main header or left site menus. The user can then be assigned administrator, general editor, or rare species reader permissions by selecting the “Manage Permissions” option within the “Administration Control Panel” of the collection’s management menu. If you are unable to see this menu, contact an administrator of the collection or your portal manager to ensure that you have administrative access to the collection.  


Question: I am imaging and barcoding my specimens and batch loading them into a Symbiota portal as skeletal records. Many of these specimens were already entered into an old database prior to imaging and barcoding. Being that the old records don’t contain the barcode and the new records with images don’t contain the old catalog/accession number,  how can I link the images and skeletal records to the old data? 

Answer: See the Linking Images to Existing Records page


Question: I manage my collection data using a local management system housed within my home institution (e.g. Specify, Ke-EMU, etc) and periodically publish a data snapshot to a Symbiota portal. However, I’m also using the portal as digitization tool to create new records by batch uploading specimen images and processing the label data using the portal’s online editing tools. How do I download these new records so that I can integrate them into my central institutional database?

Answer: The records that are periodically published from your local database into the portal as a data snapshot should have been originally imported with one of your local identifier fields serving to coordinate the records within the two data sets. This identifier field allows snapshot records to be updated without having to fully remove and replace the whole data set. This identifier field is loaded into the “dbpk” field within the Symbiota database and is exported within data downloads as the “sourcePrimaryKey-dbpk” field. Any new records entered directly into the portal will not contain any values within this field. Therefore, you can: 1) Down a complete copy of your Symbiota records by selection “Download Backup Data File” within your management menu and then delete all records within the download that have a value within the sourcePrimaryKey-dbpk field. You may also want to field out records with a processing status that is not yet complete. 2) Alternatively, you can use the custom download tool to download only these records. Go to Processing Toolbox, Exporter tab, and then preform a custom download with the a particular processing status selected and “New Records Only” checked. After you integrate these records into your local database, you can refresh your data snapshot and the newly integrated records will be coordinated with the portal records using the catalog number (often the barcode) to link records. This will populate Symbiota’s dbpk field with your local identifier and thus reclassify those records as snapshot records. This is assuming that the catalog number is populated and enforced as unique within your local database. Records with duplicate catalog number could cause problems record mapping process. From that point forward, modifications and edits to those records should only be done within your local database system.