Component Loaders and Unloaders

Data can be added to and in some cases removed from existing catalog records from a single flat (non-relational) file, a text file in which all data for an individual concept to be added to or removed from 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 component loader) 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 component-loading format.

Component Loader templates should be downloaded from the appropriate component loader tool in Arctos. All other means, including this documentation, may produce non-current data which will be rejected.


Component loader fields differ based upon the information being loaded. For more on any particular component loader, see Page Documentation on the Arctos Tool Page for the component loader. Some things hold true accross all component loaders.

Be sure anything coming from other applications (especially Microsoft products) has not changed field length, precision, or other attributes. Watch dates and non-integer numbers (such as decimal latitude) most closely.


All component loaders include a status field that is NOT part of the component loader template (but you can add it before loading if you like). This field can be NULL or include any text that helps you to organize information in the component loader. There is one special provision for this field:


Entering “autoload” in the status field sets the record to load.

Primary Key Warning

Some values may be replaced by or require primary keys: locality_id, entered_by_agent_id, collecting_event_id, etc. These are internal database identifiers that exist only for convenience, and may be updated, transferred to another data object, or removed for seemingly arbitrary reasons and without warning. They’ll probably work over short time-periods, but we offer no guarantees.


An Arctos operator with Data Entry permissions can upload records to a component loader. Arctos operators with Manage Collection can delete and change the status of records in the component loaders (including setting status to autoload)


Once a component loader record is marked to load by making status autoload, a script periodically attempts to parse the record into the normalized core Arctos structure. This may result in two things:

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. Reports/Services >View Statistics >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.

Records that do not successfully load remain in the component loader. They must be downloaded, deleted from the component loader, edited and reloaded to correct any issues. Editing within the component loader is not currently available.

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