Skip to content

Specify Software Project

Personal tools
You are here: Home

Note: This site has been superceded by the new Specify Software Site for Specify 6


Document Actions
The Specify Software Project supports biological collections with data management software, data conversion services, helpdesk support and training.

Specify 6.0 released April 10, 2009.

The Specify Software Project is pleased to announce that Specify 6 for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux shipped on April 10, 2009.  Specify 6 is free software and offered with a GPL2 license.  See the new Specify 6 Web Site

Specify 6 is an extensible, pluggable platform written in Java, for multidisciplinary biological collections computing; it represents over 8 programmer years of engineering effort. Specify 6 will be released initially with support for MySQL but the application is designed to work with any SQL data manager. 

Specify 5 is not supported with SQL Server 2008.

(24 September 2008)

Please see the Installation and Setup Guide Page for more information or contact us if you need instructions to download SQL Server 2005 Express.

Specify 6 WorkBench Update is Now Available.

(Released 5 October 2007)

The WorkBench Update incorporates three major new features. (1) GEOLocate's web service is now integrated into Specify WorkBench (along with BioGeomancer) as a second option for calculating latitude and longitude georeferences for specimen localities. (2) We created a basic plant specimen label format for printing a simple herbarium specimen label. This is a sample of the capabilities the full Specify 6 release will have for producing customized labels and reports. (3) We added the capability to link multiple image files to each specimen record. All WorkBench data will be uploadable into the full Specify 6 release.

Check out the Specify 6 WorkBench for specimen data entry in the field or in the collection. The Specify 6 WorkBench Update for MS Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, is available from the Specify 6 website:

Specify 5.2.3 Released.

(Released 4 October 2007)

Specify 5.2.3 is a minor update which addresses a small number of usability issues. (1) Series Processing now behaves correctly and remains consistently active when turned on. The error message 'Incorrect Syntax Near' no longer appears. (2) When editing Collection Objects, Specify correctly prevents editing loan, accession and deaccession fields. (3) When marking and dragging taxon tree entries to 'synonymize' taxa, the number of valid species or subspecies is no longer included with the taxon name. Click Download on the left side menu, to obtain Specify 5.2.3. All Specify installations should upgrade to this latest version.

If you are new to Specify, start with Site Installation Options, and then download the Specify Installation and Setup Guide to give Specify a try.  Let us know if we can help with an evaluation of Specify for your collection.

First Looks at Specify 6: the WorkBench.

(Released 23 May 2007)

With the launch announcement of the Specify 6 WorkBench at the annual meeting of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections in May 2007, our transition Specify 6 website went live at: The WorkBench is a stand-alone, cross-platform application designed to facilitiate rapid specimen data entry and to demonstrate the software vision for Specify 6. The WorkBench is available for downloading from the web page; we invite you to try it and welcome comments. The Project will issue a WorkBench update in early October, and it will be incorporated into the initial release of the full Specify 6 platform in 2008.

Specify 5.2.2 Announced.

(Released 13 July 2007)

Specify 5.2.2, a minor update to 5.2.1, is now available for downloading.  The 5.2.2 release addresses a few issues.  Fixes include the ability to delete choices from list button fields, and having loan reports display the current determinations for collection objects when there are associated synonymized taxa.  Click on Download on the main menu, to obtain the new release.

Specify 5.2.1 is Available.

(Released 20 June 2007)

The Specify Software Project announces the availability of Release 5.2.1.  Specify 5.2.1 is a maintenance release which includes several enhancements and a number of bug fixes. All Specify installations are encouraged to upgrade to this new version.  See the Specify 5.2.1 Release Notes for details on the improvements made.

Specify 5.2 has Arrived.

(Released 30 March 2007)

The Specify Software Project is pleased to announce the arrival of Specify 5.2, a new and improved release. We've re-implemented Specify's web interface and made numerous usability enhancements, responding to client feedback.

What's New and Enhanced in Specify 5.2.

  • Specify's New Web Interface—Specify's completely re-engineered HTML web interface and revamped DiGIR/XML support will improve your web presence and increase internet usage of your collection's data. The new web interface uses Java Server Pages, Java Beans, and Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) technologies to add numerous web capabilities. Performance is a key enhancement--the Specify 5.2 web interface now takes advantage of Specify’s Express Search component to process web queries and produce result sets quickly. The new web interface incorporates several, often-requested features, including support for displaying images. Under the control of CSS, the style of Specify web pages can be customized for a large number of attributes, and can be tailored to match an existing web site’s look and feel. Web users of your data also benefit from customizable web features. They can change display options for viewing search results, including such things as font size, fields to be shown, and the number of data records displayed on a web page. Last but not least, site administrators have a new, useful tool. To document internet activity, Specify's web interface now includes a password-protected web page which neatly analyzes and summarizes web access and downloads.
  • Enhanced DiGIR Support—We've added support for various DiGIR schemas and Darwin Core extensions through the Specify DiGIR interface. Darwin Core extensions for Paleontology, DiGIR 1.2, 1.21 and OBIS can now be utilized. We've also streamlined the DiGIR cache setup process.
  • Numerous Incremental Enhancements:
    • Pick Lists for Every Use - Drop-down pick list fields help maintain data quality, by constraining the allowable content of data fields to preferred values, spellings and formatting. Although in previous versions we provided several drop-down pick list fields by default, we have responded to pleas for "More! More Pick Lists!" by making any text field customizable into a pick list. Did we go too far?
    • Loan Collection Objects Sorted - Specimens or lots now are sorted automatically in loans by catalog number.
    • Form Set Preference Saved for Each User - The data entry form set preferred by a user is now stored as a user preference. When users log in they now sees their customized data forms by default.
    • Search Button Views - By popular request, users now have the option to go directly to a “Custom” instead of a “Browse” data view following a search.
    • URL Fields Easily Filled - If a URL field is empty, users can now choose a file from a Windows file browser window by first clicking the ellipsis in the Specify URL data field.
    • Viewing and Hiding the Search Tree - Turning the Search Tree off and on for creating a conventional search is now easier, thanks to a new menu option. Also a user can click and drag down the upper border of the search criteria window to reveal the Search Tree.
    • Finding and Viewing Saved Searches - In conventional field-based search, when using an existing search specification, a user now has the option to display only those saved searches she owns, as opposed to seeing all of the searches saved by other users.
    • Verification of Batch Identification - Execution a Batch Identification has been visually enhanced by the addition of a completion notification and by resetting the batch identification form to confirm that the operation was successful.
    • Messages Modified - For example, when there is a missing display field required for the Batch Editing process, a message now indicates which field needs to be added.
    • Captions Clarified - We’ve made numerous incremental improvements to captions to reduce ambiguity and improve interaction design. For example, the title bar changes from "Searches" to "Choose a Search to Delete" when invoking the Delete Search option, and “Enter Return Quantity” appears instead of “Return Quantity” to make the next step clearer.
    • DiGIR Darwin Core (DwC) Mapping - Sites can now place Microsoft Access files containing query and text file Darwin Core mappings in the directory containing Specify.exe. Specify looks for these files in its directory, and if it finds them, skips the previously required download step and imports the local files.
    • And many additional improvements ...

Why not seek a better return on your long-term investment in collections? Plug your collection's data into the global cyberinfrastructure for research and education with Specify.

  • Specify Software Project
    Biodiversity Research Center
    University of Kansas
    1345 Jayhawk Boulevard
    Lawrence, KS USA 66045

    Phone: +1 (785) 864-4400
    Fax: +1 (785) 864-5335

    The Specify Software Project is funded by the Biological Databases and Informatics Program of the U.S. National Science Foundation (DBI-0446544) with matching funds provided by the Kansas University Biodiversity Research Center and the KU Center for Research.

Created by jbeach
Last modified 2009-04-09 02:30 PM

United States
European Union
United Kingdom
Czech Republic
New Zealand

Powered by Plone

This site conforms to the following standards: