Navigation: Tools Directory > Data Entry > Bulkload Catalog Records


New catalog records may be created from a single flat (non-relational) file, a text file in which all (or most) data for a single cataloged item are in a single row. This file can be created with any convenient client-side application. The file is then loaded into a similarly structured table on the server, and a server-side application (the bulkloader) parses the columns from each row into the relational structure of the database. The process provides an independent layer of data checking before new information is incorporated into the database proper. Original data that are received in electronic format may require minimal manipulation; you can sometimes merely add the necessary columns to build a file in the bulkloading format.

Columns and Documentation

Documentation is provided as a Google Sheet:


Make sure to check the tabs for additional information!

Tools and Tips

Bulkloader Builder

Navigation: Tools Directory > Data Entry > Bulkloader Builder

The Bulkloader Builder will create templates, and is the only authoritative source of column names.

CSV Header Checker

The CSV Header Checker will find problematic column names in CSV files.

Case in data

Arctos is case-sensitive. JOHN DOE is not the same value as John Doe. Leading and trailing spaces and other non-printing characters matter.


Arctos is UTF-8 encoded. See encoding for information regarding character encoding.


Documentation regarding dates, including preventing Excel from mangling them, is available.


Once a record is marked to load by making status “autoload_core” (loads data from table bulkloader) or “autoload_extras” (also marks UUID-linked records in “component loaders” to autoload), a script periodically attempts to parse the record into the normalized core Arctos structure. This may result in two things: * the record is created and marked for cache refresh, or * an error is returned in the status column

Additionally, status DELETE (case-sensitive) can be used to mark records for deletion. This process generally takes about 30 minutes.


Records which successfully load must be refreshed in the cache before appearing in the user interfaces. Records are refreshed in the order they enter the queue. This process often takes less than one minute, but in the case of many thousands of records being queued can take up to several days. FLAT Status provides a summary of the state of the cache, and may be useful in estimating processing time.

Note that there is a period of time between successful loading and the cache being refreshed where records are not visible in any user interface.

It may take some time for freshly-created data to appear in the user interface. Check Flat Status for the latest.

It’s Stuck

The web-based applications may not work well for very large loads. Contact us if you’re having problems.


There is no standard method for moving data into table Bulkloader. You may import data from any file format, type the data into the table, write your own data entry screen, or use any other method you choose. We appreciate documentation, even for specialized datasets – see How To Github - Contribute to the Arctos Handbook if you wish to contribute.

You may mix accessions, collections, or anything else in a single load.

The catalog record Bulkloader will not alone handle every eventuality that may ever occur while entering data. (The suite of tools available should.) Use [flags] to mark incomplete records for further editing, tie to other bulkloaders with UUIDs, or talk to your friendly local Arctos development team BEFORE you make a mess.

Error messages should include more than enough information to allow you to locate and correct the problem. If that isn’t the case, contact us with the error message and a description of the action that caused the error message.

Instructions for doing specifc tasks related to Bulkloading in Arctos

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