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Specify 5.2.3 Release Notes



  • Series Processing now behaves correctly and remains consistently active when turned on. The error message 'Incorrect Syntax Near' no longer appears.
  • When editing Collection Objects, Specify correctly prevents editing loan, accession and deaccession fields.
  • 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.

Specify 5.2.2 Release Notes



  • Entries in ListButton fields can now be removed with the delete key. (Bug #4625)
  • Within reports, loan invoices now correctly display the current determination, even when non-current determinations and synonyms are present. (Bug #4636)

Specify 5.2.1 Release Notes



  • Latitude and longitude coordinate values are now rounded to 4 places. (Bug #4340)
  • GeologicTimePeriod form now has Edit and Delete Buttons. (Bug #4468)
  • A more understandable pop-up message has been an added to indicate that a record that has an association with a collection object record cannot be deleted. (Bug #4368)
  • Specify now provides a warning message, if a record saving is attempted for a form which is missing data in a required field. The existing data entered into that form is maintained.  This also works if the required field is part of a subform (and is missing required data for save to work). (Bug #4383)
  • Automatic Catalog Number assignment has been enabled with multiple collection series. (Bug #4371)
  • The Citation subform on the Collection Object form can now be added and used. (Bug #4390)
  • The option “Save as Default” has been changed to “Set as Default” and users are now allowed to set a new search as default from the Open Existing Search window. (Bug #4361, 4381)
  • When more than one monitor is used for a workstation, pop-ups now appear in center of the monitor with the active form. (Bug #4362)
  • Default formatting for the catalog number lookup on the loan form now uses the current determination, not the first determination.  (Bug #4336)



  • Problem with editing report templates fixed. (Bug #4598)

Forms and Data Entry:

  • Specify no longer creates blank locality and collecting event records. (Bug #4548)
  • The Edit button no longer disappears after the deletion of certain records. (Bug #4359)
  • An error in data entry, such as missing data in a required field, no longer causes the Automatic Catalog Number assignment to use the next number but correctly keeps the current number. (Bug #4545)

Batch Editing:

  • Specify now allows batch editing on a field used in a search criterion, however the user will not be able to edit the resulting records immediately, since the search may no longer be valid if search criteria have been edited. The user will need to re-run the search to edit these records. Whatever is selected to be edited will have time, date, and who modified, updated. If the replace option was used, then all the records in the selected data set are updated; if the substitute option was selected, then only those records that have substitutions are updated. (Bug #4379)


  • The Specify Administrator can now add Locality.GeoRefRemarks to a form and still use the Express Search Builds. (Bug #4387)
  • The Specify Administrator can move fields around in the Form Customizer without causing the Express Search Builds to generate error messages. (Bug #4389)

Web Interface:

  • Specify will no longer allow web searches to be re-saved, because non-administrator level users could disable web searches. The Specify Administrator must delete and recreate the web search to ensure that all the related files are built appropriately. (Bug #4377)
  • Specify Administrators now have the capability to mark those fields (MultiValueFields) that are one-to-many for the detail page of the web interface. (Bug #4380)
  • Specify Administrator users can now turn on Automatic Catalog Number assignment and series processing, and still create web caches. (Bug #4543)
  • Specify Administrator users were able to create too many web users by changing the ODBC name. The system now tracks just one user by the current ODBC name. (Bug #4570)
  • Specify Administrator users can now use batch identification to alter the determination and then update the Web Cache and run a search without getting an access violation. (Bug #4356)


  • A user can perform several DiGIR updates without generating an error message.  (Bug #4540)
  • A user can now have a DiGIR query that uses Series Processing.  (Bug #4541)

Specify 5.2 Release Notes


Re-engineered Web Server Interface

Specify’s re-engineered web interface uses Java Server Pages, Java Bean and Cascading Style Sheet technologies to enable numerous new web access features. Performance is a key enhancement; the Specify 5.2 web interface takes advantage of Specify’s indexed Express Search capabilities to produces result sets quickly.

Specify 5.2’s new web interface incorporates several, often-requested features, including support for image files. If you have a web or file URL value in your Specify database for an image link, the image will be displayed as a thumbnail or icon (your preference) on the web query results page. Web users can Click on the thumbnail or icon and bring up the full-sized image. Specify web sites can also display URL links to external web sources with information related to the record (e.g. to FishBase or Genbank), or any other multimedia file (e.g. video, sounds) stored on your database computer. All “http://” references in your data records display in the web query result pages as active URL links.

Under the control of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) the style of your Specify web pages can be customized for a large number of attributes, and they can be designed to match your institutional web site’s look and feel. Also, the Google-like Specify Express Search query box may be placed on any web page on your collection’s web site, not just on the default Specify query page.

Web users of your database also benefit from our customizable web architecture. They can change display parameters for viewing the results of searches, including such things as font size and the number of data records displayed on a single web page. Sorting web data tables resulting from queries by column takes just a mouse click on the column name header. Also, multiple columns for taxonomic and geographic data values smartly sort with sort orders cascading from the most inclusive to the least inclusive column. For example, if a web user sorts a query result table on family names, generic names automatically sort alphabetically within families and likewise species epithets within genera.

Finally, site administrators also benefit from Specify 5.2’s re-engineered web interface. To track internet usage of your collection’s data, the new Specify web interface implements a web page to summarize and analyze your web activity logs. Web usage statistics can be obtained for the entire duration of your logging period or through custom searches of specific time periods of the logs. Summary usage tables highlight frequent search terms and frequent web users. This new capability will be useful for administrators and collections managers for analyzing activity and trends of collection data queries, views and downloads.

DiGIR Support

Support for multiple DiGIR schemas including various Darwin Core versions is now accommodated through the Specify DiGIR interface. DC extensions for Paleontology, DiGIR 1.2, 1.21 and OBIS can be added. Also, Specify’s DiGIR interface is now supported on IIS or Apache. We offer a turnkey installation package that installs Apache and PHP.

Field Behavior Customization on Data Entry Forms

Many users have encountered situations where additional data fields were needed with a small or limited set of possible values, for use as ‘pick lists’. Drop-down pick list fields help maintain data quality, by constraining the allowable content of data fields to preferred values, spellings and formatting. Although we provide several drop-down pick list fields by default, we have responded to requests for more by making any text field customizable into a pick list. Specify Administrator users can make this change to fields and they can also add new list values by simple editing.

Removing Unused Records

For various reasons, Specify databases can accumulate data records which go unused and are not needed. Isolated records with no links to them from any other records in the database can cause unnecessary performance and management overhead. A new Specify function, “Remove Unused Records” finds all of the unused, orphaned records in a selected data table and expunges them.

Loans and Batch Identification

A search button has been added to the Loan Add Items and Batch Identification dialogues for finding and adding catalog numbers to loan transactions and to batch identification tasks. This feature takes advantage of the search function and eliminates the need to add record numbers, one at a time, to loans and batch processes.



  • 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. (Bug #4045)
  • 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 corresponding ellipsis in a Specify URL data field. (Bug #3886)
  • Verification of Batch Identification - Taxonomic ‘Batch Identification’ of collection objects has been enhanced by the addition of a completion notification and by resetting the batch form to confirm that the operation was successful.
  • Search Button Views - By request, users now have the option to go directly to the “Custom” instead of “Browse” view after a search by utilizing search button dropdown options. Otherwise clicking the Search button displays results in the last data view selected.
  • Finding and Viewing Saved Searches - In conventional field-based search, when using an existing search specification, a user now has the option to set the saved searches displayed to only those she owns, as opposed to seeing all saved searches by other users.
  • Loan Collection Objects Sorted - Specimens or lots are now automatically sorted in a loan by catalog number.
  • Form Set Preference Saved for Each User - The form set being used by a particular user is stored with the user’s preferences in the Specify database. This means that when a user logs in he/she sees their customized forms automatically.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Messages Enhanced – For example when there is a missing display field required for the Batch Editing process to work, a message indicates which field needs to be added.



DiGIR Interface:

  • Updates of DiGIR data from clients for which no DiGIR provider has been configured, no longer fail. (Bug #4024)

Series Processing:

  • When entering multiple catalog numbers with series processing turned on, using the navigation arrows at the bottom of the form, which indicate multiple items, no longer generates an error. (Bug #3677)
  • When searching with series processing turned on, it is now possible to sort on any field, but the primary sort field must always be catalog number in ascending order, or else the following error message will appear: ‘If series processing is activated then the primary sort must be in ascending order by Catalog’. (Bug #3913)
  • Specify now allows a search to be saved with the series processing option turned on, only if the sort order is set up correctly. (Bug #4034)
  • After the results of a search have been displayed and then series processing is turned on, Specify will now detect the change and return to the search setup page. It no longer erroneously displays the results of the previous search. (Bug #3953)
  • If a catalog number series had been entered and an error occurred while saving, all but the first number in the series was removed and the series had to be entered again. The series is now maintained so that the user simply needs to input the correct data in the field that caused the error. (Bug #4041)
  • Memo fields contained in the Custom View no longer break series processing searches. (Bug #4043)



  • GroupPermittedToView security permissions are no longer ignored in the Custom View. (Bug #4019)
  • GroupPermittedToView security permissions are no longer ignored in 'Additional Columns' added through the Form Customizer. (Bug #4023)



  • Search results can now be repeatedly exported to Microsoft Access databases and result in correct results each the time. (Bug #3833)
  • If you attempt to export data records to an ".mdb" file that already exists, Specify now asks you if you wish to overwrite the existing file. (Bug #3935)
  • Search results can be successfully exported with series processing turned on. (Bug #3951)



  • Using a dash or a hyphen (“-“) in search criteria between numbers instead of a comma with a descending sort in a collection object now results in just one error message informing the user to use a comma. Economical. (Bug #3903)
  • If you delete a search from the available search list, the list is successfully updated when next accessed. (Bug #3946)
  • A search saved with the same name as a previously deleted search can now be added to the ‘Open an Existing Search’ menu item in the navigation panel and be used normally. (Bug #3972)
  • Sorting in searches can be on any fields including those that are not from the base table. (Bug #4027)
  • After a newly created search is saved, the title pane for the work area now displays the new name for the search. (Bug #4030)
  • Right clicking on most fields in the search tree returns the property form. (Bug #3977)
  • Number sorting in express search Grid View now works. (Bug #3873)
  • Selecting “Save” in response to the “Save changes to current search?” prompt, causes the search to be saved. Duh. (Bug #3837)
  • Numeric catalog numbers are now findable by Express Search. Lists of numeric catalog numbers can now also be used in search criteria, e.g. ’28,29,30’. (Bug #4242)
  • Creating another default search and then deleting it now rebuilds of the initial default search.
  • You can now combine using "Series Processing" and "Unique Results Only" options for a search as long as the search is sorted by catalog number in ascending order. (Bug #3470)



  • Right and left mouse clicks on a taxon name in the Taxon Tree will select the taxon name. (Bug #3868)
  • Taxonomic rank control is now correct for invalid taxa. (Bug #3269)
  • When a taxon is synonymized, remarks fields of the determination table are modified to contain the name and not node numbers of the junior synonym. We do have a utility program that can correct existing Specify databases with this problem. Contact us for a copy and assistance. (Bug #3866)
  • When a taxon is synonymized, determination records which are added no longer erroneously attribute the determination record for the synonym to the person who made the last determination of the specimen.
  • Deleting a TaxonName record which results from an Express Search, works correctly instead of returning "Item cannot be found." message. (Bug #3465)
  • Deleting TaxonName records and deleting entries in the Taxon Tree now correctly update the Express Search display. (Bug #3466, 3467 & 3468)


Batch Editing:

  • Batch editing now always refreshes updated information. One can now Batch Edit a field that was used in the search setting up the edit. Multiple batch edits now perform correctly.


Forms and Data Entry:

  • The ellipsis button for Determination, collection object list button control is correctly disabled. (Bug #3848)
  • Sub-number field in collection object is now correctly not allowed to be added to the form. (Bug #4042)
  • Fields that are un-indexed in Express Search can now be removed without generating error messages. (Bug #4052)
  • Geography information is now correctly saved regardless of whether the cursor is moved by a mouse click or with a tab key to navigate among fields on data forms. (Bug #4269)
  • Any default formatted list button strings containing geography data are now updated when corresponding geography fields are changed through Batch Editing. (Bug #4268)
  • The ellipsis [...] button is now disabled next to a data field if no data are present, e.g. as commonly happens with images. (Bug #3438)
  • Agent Organization – abbreviation, full name lookup is now functioning correctly. (Bug #3619)
  • When adding new agent organization information to an agent list button, the entered data is automatically carried forward to next screen. (Bug #3619)



  • The print button on the bottom menu now works in all circumstances including printing of multiple items for loans. (Bug #3862 & 3451)
  • Express Search results are now printing properly with all information being displayed correctly. (Bug #3281)



  • Specify now supports all user levels with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 installations. (Bug #4040)
  • Loan Physical Object/Collection Object list button works properly when dropping down a list of matches for user entered catalog numbers. (Bug #3859)
  • Specify now produces the correct HTML code for the degree symbol. (Bug #4244)
  • Specify now stores server, database and user information in a user accessible directory. (Bug #3863)
  • Grid Index out of range error messages no longer occur when a user clicks on a partially displayed field in a Grid View display. (Bug #3877)
  • Catalog numbers with decimal points are now handled correctly in loans and gifts. (Bug #3707 Part a)
  • Catalog numbers with decimal points can be explicitly itemized to be added as a batch in loans and gifts. Attempting to add a range of catalog numbers with decimal points is not supported. For example: 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 can be added but not 10.1-10.3. (Bug #3707 Part b)
  • On the Grid, Detail and Custom Views, checks indicating the status of items in the View/Options menu are now displayed. (Bug #3471)
  • Catalog numbers that are over a certain length no longer transform to exponential notation, but watch for our support of imaginary catalog numbers in a future release! (Bug #3736)
  • Remove Duplicates now works consistently for the localities table.
  • When upgrading databases, Specify now checks for missing database triggers.



  • Editing Data in Subforms - When editing the contents of a field included in a subform as part of a larger main data form, the data changes apply only to that main data form item and not to any other associated records. For example, if one edits the "date" or "field number" data field in a collecting event subform which is part of a collection object main form, the change applies only to that one collection object item and not to any other collection objects associated with that collecting event. If you want to edit "date" or "field number" or some other collecting event field and wish the changes apply to all corresponding collection object records associated with the collecting event, you should edit collecting event data fields in the main collecting event data form.
  • Express Search Index Builds - When running reports or searches or trying to do an express build, you may get an error message due to an Agent formatting problem caused by adding a new collector’s type: Group. The error message “There is an error in the formatting of this object.” is shown for all collectors. The easiest way is fix it is to clear formatting for collectors in the Collecting Event form. New formatting for the field can be entered immediately and indexing will function properly.
  • Running Reports - Specify does not inform the user that a query needs to exist before a report can be created. (Bug #3256)
  • Importing Reports - If you import a report and then delete it and then re-import it again, it duplicates the report. If you import a report twice, you get duplication in some dialogs and running the report fails. (Bug #3288)
  • Imported Searches - If an imported search specification has fields that do not correspond to your database (such as when the fields cannot be displayed) and you try to run a report using this query, an access violation occurs. This happens rarely.
  • Loan and Gift Data - Loan and gift data are stored in the same data table. Care must be taken in constructing searches if you want to access data for only one or the other.
  • Report Field names - Field caption parsing can create duplicate named fields for reports. (Bug #3710)
  • Unique Column Requirement in Building Express Search Index Table - To complete an Express Search build of indexes, all of the column names to be indexed must be unique. If they are not, an error message occurs, but the error message does not indicate which tables contain the duplicate named fields, so the user must search for names that are not unique. The workaround is to then use the form customizer and change the duplicate captions. Two captions that have the same alphanumeric text string but differ in only special characters (any non alpha-numeric character) will be considered the same; one caption will need to be changed.
  • Web Server Interface – We have seen intermittent crashes with Apache Tomcat when used with Windows 2003 server. Call us for updated information on this issue, if you install the web interface on a Windows server and experience Tomcat crashes. We have not seen this problem with the Linux servers or with the Sun Java System Application Server on Windows.
  • Web Search Results – Some Specify numeric data fields stored internally as floating point values, are not being truncated correctly upon export to the web index cache, resulting in web results sets showing long strings of decimal values for some floating point numeric fields. Contact us, if you encounter this issue, for an update.
  • Web Search Parameters – The web Express and Advanced Search functions do not support search strings which include decimal points.


Specify 5.1.1 Release Notes

  • File Menu
    • A test version of a feature to remove unneeded duplicate records labeled "Test Unused Removal" has been removed from the top level File menu. The function will be supported in Specify 5.2.
  • Data Entry
    • The data field "subnumber" in the CollectionObjectID subform of Collection Object form is no longer user editable.  "Subnumber" is assigned internally by Specify to handle multiple collection objects which share a common catalog number.
    • Data entered in the geographic coordinate fields, new in Specify 5.1, are now saved.

Specify 5.1 Release Notes

  • Data Entry
    • Catalog number of physical object records is now correctly changed when the original catalog number is edited.
    • Alt-s and Alt-n keyboard shortcuts now work in the Detail View.
  • Reports
    • It is now possible to print multiple reports from lower workspace print button without the need to restart Specify.
    • All available reports now appear in both Custom View and Grid View
    • The correct record now prints from Detail View
    • The "Print Duplicates" function now works correctly.
    • When using the embedded report writer, Rave, Specify will be inactive until the Rave session is finished.
  • Microsoft SQL Server
    • We have added support for Microsoft's newest data manager - SQL Server 2005. MSDE (also known as the Microsoft Desktop Engine) which we currently distribute with Specify has been replaced by Microsoft with SQL Server 2005 Express Edition. We have discontinued distribution of the MSDE Installer. Specify now works with any of these versions of SQL Server: SQL Server 2000, MSDE, SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2005 Express Edition. Specify sites interested in upgrading MSDE to SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, should contact us for information.
  • Taxon
    • Related record management in the Taxon Tree now works correctly.
    • The intermittent "invalid variant" error which occurred in the Taxon Tree has been fixed.
  • International Version
    • Guest users are now permitted to close the Specify application.
    • English text for the "Table" pick list on the "Print Duplicates" option is now correct in the internationalization (localization) file.
  • Search Results, Grid Views and Express Search Views
    • Protected data can now be viewed only by the appropriate level of user in Grid View and Express Search results.
    • Collection Object user permission levels now work for Express Search.
    • "Save as Default" option is now only available when a search and Edit menu branch in the left hand Navigational Panel is open.
    • When the determination field is not formatted, determinations are ordered with "Current" being first. If formatting is present, the "Ordered by Current" option must be set by the user if it is desired.
    • Related records now have correct toolbars.
  • Display
    • While performing administrative functions in the Specify Login window, the login screen is completely re-drawn when necessary.
  • Loans
    • Preparations with real number catalog numbers are correctly displayed in the loan form.
  • Series Processing
    • An invalid floating point number error no longer occurs when editing series.
    • Series are correctly added to the Express Search Tables
  • Form Customizer
    • Collector Agent lookups can now be done without checking "Use format on data forms".
  • Web Interface
    • The web search now uses the web parameters.
    • The records per page parameter is now fully functional.
    • Web templates have been upgraded to XHTML.
  • DiGIR
    • Recursive taxonomy records will not freeze the DiGIR data export function.

What’s New and Exciting in Specify 5.0! 

  • Specify's New Look and Feel—Specify's re-designed main screen has three ways to get things done: the express search panel, the navigation panel, and the search setup/data window. The left side navigation panel contains all of the commonly used functions for Specify. You can leave it fully displayed for easy navigation within Specify or you can close it to obtain more screen space for working with your data.
  • Express Searches—you're going to appreciate the convenience of the new Specify Express Search. With a Google-like search capability, Express Search can instantly find any text or numbers in your Specify database. Express searches are enabled by turning on indexes for the data tables and fields you would like to be searchable. For more complex searches, such as selections on multiple attributes or for a range of values, Specify’s conventional field-structured searches are still available.
  • Expanded Statistics—we’ve expanded the number of collections statistics for your database. Specify can display your collection's stats in abbreviated or expanded form. A summary appears under the Statistics heading in the navigation panel, and a comprehensive list can be displayed as you exit Specify or when you click the word Statistics in the navigation panel.
  • Form Sets and the Forms Manager—Specify 5.0 lets you create any number of customized data forms for individual users or projects. Just modify the standard forms and save them as a new set of forms. Now any user of your Specify database can enter and edit data on forms optimized for his/her particular task or expertise level.
  • Support for DiGIR and Web HTML Interfaces—we made improvements to Specify's Internet interfaces and we are working on a new HTML web server interface and a streamlined DiGIR installer to be released in the second half of 2006.

Additional Enhancements

  • Opening and printing reports have become quicker and easier.
  • New fields have been added to the Localities table for compatibility with the georeferencing standard of the Mammals Network Information Service (MANIS) Project.
  • You can now sort on undisplayed fields.
  • The 'cataloged in last week/month/year' statistics now show the number of specimens cataloged since the first day of the current calendar week/month/year.
  • A customized search can now be set as default, and only Administrators can delete other users' default searches.
  • Windows authentication mode for campus networks is less intrusive. Please see the help file for further instructions to set up for the Windows authentication mode if your institution uses it for login and password control.
  • The new Navigation Panel has links to Specify home page, and you can add your own frequently used URL links.
  • Custom images can be added to the right-pane workspace background and to the Specify start-up login window.
  • Permission to view records can now be restricted at the collection object level.
  • If out-of-range geocoordinate data is found during upgrade, a listing of the invalid locality records can be saved to a file for use in correcting the data later or the upgrade can be cancelled.
  • HotKeys/ShortCuts are now read from a table in the database. Advanced database administrators who have access to MS SQL Server Enterprise Manager can contact the Specify Project to learn how to modify custom hot keys.
  • The consistency of buttons and error messages has been much improved.
  • Linnaean rank searches, formerly known as “Simplified Taxonomic Searches” are faster.
  • The DiGIR setup uses faster caching and improved concept definitions.

Specify 4.6 Bugs fixed in 5.0

  • When you use the query (now "search") tree and remove or add fields to a query, the custom view now shows the correct columns.
  • When you add or remove taxon fields with Linnaean rank searches turned on, grid, query results, and data forms now refresh according to the new query. 
  • Fixed a problem with SQL DateTime syntax for Spanish (Colombia) regional settings.
  • Blank databases are stable.
  • “Zombie” state no longer occurs when editing a collection definition.
  • Specify will not run until a collection is defined. On startup if no collection exists, the CollectionSetupWizard runs. If it is cancelled or unsuccessful, Specify displays a message and closes.
  • Collection statistics calculations now support international usage.
  • Fixed problem with Linnaean rank searches where incorrect taxonomic data would be displayed for 'uneven' taxonomy trees, e.g., for those trees with incomplete hierarchies.
  • A taxon with synonyms can now be synonymized - all its junior synonyms become junior synonyms of its senior synonyms.
  • When a determination is saved, if the determination is current and the taxon is not accepted (a junior synonym), a dialog box appears giving the user 3 choices:
      1) replace the taxon with it's accepted taxon in the current determination,
      2) add a new current determination to the accepted taxon,
      3) cancel the save and edit the determination 'by hand'.
  • For 'list button' fields, if you move the mouse over the caption the complete contents of the field will popup.
  • ListButton fields will now show their lookup field names if the mouse is moved over the text entry area while the field is being edited.
  • When the Catalog Series was changed from X to Y, the physical object records in the CollectionObjectCatalog table were incorrectly remaining in series X.  They now change appropriately to series Y.
  • The 'Return Items' button no longer appears when editing Gifts. Sorry--you cannot take them back.
  • Spaces in the Specify database names no longer cause problems for backups or restores.
  • If a Specify user has an unknown security level, a message is now displayed notifying them on login and then Specify exits.
  • The Login screen OK button is not active until a database name is entered.
  • The preference setting has been fixed so that ssp./var./forma are added to FullTaxonName only if the preference is set.
  • A bug in Linnaean rank searches caused apparently empty fields; data failed to display, print or export existing data for one or more of higher taxonomic ranks, species, subspecies and author. 
  • Running a search that is slightly different from one that was just run no longer displays duplicated data.  Data display is refreshed to show the appropriate data.
  • Confirmation dialog now appears when export of data is complete.
  • The loan ID field is now populated as soon as the loan is saved.  Previously, it was left blank until the record was re-selected.
  • Formatting within Grid records that include information that should not be seen by guest users now simply removes that information without informing users that there is restricted information.
  • Specify 4.6 would let a user login as the SQL or MSDE “sa” user (instead of the Specify account user), but only some functions would work or work only in part. Specify user accounts created by “sa” were not legitimate. In 5.0 the ‘sa’ user is fully-functional.
  • Setting the width property of a number and leaving the decimal field blank no longer generates an error.
  • In Specify 4.6, only “person” type agents could be used as collectors. In Specify 5.0 “other”, “group”, and “organization” agent types can be collectors.
  • In memo fields, pattern matching characters such as [, ], _ and % no longer break duplicate removal.
  • Problem with the ElevationAccuracy field zeroing out data is fixed.
  • Some basic terms from the previous Specify user interface have been changed to more suitable terms.
  • In Specify 4.6, if you deleted a user, queries associated with that user were hidden. The queries and their associated reports were no longer accessible, but the deleted user name was stored and not available for reuse. If you added back the deleted username, the queries would reappear.  In Specify 5, all queries (now known as "searches") are available even if a user is deleted. 

Known Issues

  • When exporting a large amount of data (more than about 15,000 records) from Specify to a text file, on occasion Specify will appear to hang. Given enough time though, the export process will complete. If you scroll to the bottom of the display prior to exporting, the exporting process will generally proceed more quickly. Occasionally, back-to-back exports will throw an error, for example, if you export data to an Access database and then to a text file. To prevent this problem, re-run the search and then the second export will run without problem.
  • In the Loan Form, a “Grid Index Out of Range” message appears when a mouse scroll wheel is used or if a cell is selected that is not fully displayed.
  • If you are using the Specify 4.6 "Demobird" database for your production database and wish to continue to use it with Specify 5, please contact the Specify staff at It needs a special one-time fix. Specify 5 ships with a spanking new demonstration database "Fishdemo" for evaluating Specify 5.
Created by jbeach
Last modified 2007-10-16 01:31 PM

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