Specify Download and Installation
Specify is available in two versions for each desktop operating system. The full version of Specify 6 requires the MySQL database manager and the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) to be installed before Specify can be installed or run. MySQL may be installed on a server computer for shared database access across multiple workstations, or on a single workstation for access only from that machine. In contrast, Specify EZDB does not require a pre-installation of MySQL, it is built into the Specify EZDB download package. However, Specify EZDB installations do require the Java Runtime Environment to be pre-installed.
The installation guides below step through MySQL and Java installation processes for Windows and Mac OS X. Linux users should know how to install software for their OS version.
Specify requires Java 6 Runtime Environment (JRE) software. In 2012/2013 many systems will be transitioning to Java 7, and Specify will move from Java 6 to 7 in early 2013. Contact us with any Java installation or Java version questions.
To setup the full version of Specify, after you have MySQL and Java installed, or for Specify EZDB with only Java pre-installed, download and then run the Specify installation package for your desktop platform (links to downloadable Specify installers are below).
Once the full version of Specify is installed, but before actually using it to manage data, there is an additional preparation step--the Specify Setup Wizard must be run. The Specify Setup Wizard (SpWizard.exe) is included in the Specify 6 installation packages (below) for each respective desktop platform. The Wizard will create: (1) a new empty database, (2) a manager-level user account for administering the Specify installation, and (3) the initial Geography and Taxon authority tables.
As described in the full Specify installation documentation, the Specify Setup Wizard requires the default MySQL database engine to be set to "InnoDB". Instructions for changing the default engine to InnoDB can be found on Changing the default MySQL engine to InnoDB. If you cannot change the MySQL default engine to InnoDB then you will need to manually create a new Specify database from within MySQL software. For documentation and a script to build a database visit this page: Creating a Specify Database from within MySQL.
Note that for full Specify installations (not EZDB), when you install MySQL as your database manager you will be asked to specify during the MySQL installation process, a MySQL database "root" user ID and password. We call the MySQL "root" user the 'Specify IT user." For full Specify installations the Specify Wizard requires this account name and information in order to set up collection databases and create Specify manager and user accounts. For Specify EZDB installations, where you do not separately install MySQL, the Specify Wizard will simply prompt for a Specify manager account name and password and allow you to set up other Specify users as well, it does not require a MySQL database root user name.
When you plan to set up Specify for an actual, production database, carefully read the Specify Wizard step-by-step PDF guide available on this site. There are several configuration choices that you need to be prepared to decide while running the Wizard which determine how your collection's data and your institution's administrative organization will be represented within Specify.
Instructions for using the Specify Wizard with both local workstation and network server database access can be found at:
Note to Specify 5 users: Specify 6 is a completely new program and has a new database design. Data in Specify 5 need to be converted to Specify 6 by Specify Project staff. Specify 5 data forms and printed label and report templates do not automatically convert to Specify 6 components. Please contact us for conversion details and scheduling.
When updating an existing installation with a new Specify release, we strongly recommend that you backup your database with the Specify database backup utility before running the update installer, particularly for update releases that modify the Specify database schema (structure). If a power outage or other hardware or network failure should occur during the update process, your database may be rendered into an unrecoverable state, which in the absence of a backup copy, would result in a catastrophic loss of all data.
Software Applications in the Specify 6 Installation Package
||Specify 6 application (uses the Java JRE small memory model, best for most users)
||Specify 6 application (uses a 1 GB JRE memory model, for better performance if you have 2 GB or more of RAM)
||This is Specify's database backup and restore tool, for site administrators.
||Specify's version of iReport for creating and editing label and report formats for printed output
||The Specify Setup Wizard creates the first new, empty, Specify collection database in MySQL. Additional collection databases can be added later from within Specify.
||The Import File Splitter reduces large Microsoft Excel spreadsheet files into separate files of 5,000 record rows or fewer to enable specimen or taxon data import through the Specify WorkBench.
||Data Exporter exports a schema map made within Specify for the purposes of exporting data in a particular format for external use. The Data Exporter also exports Specify data in the destination (mapped) schema to an external file. This function is used to create an IPT server cache of data from a Specify database. This application was previously known as the "SchemaExporter".
Installation Packages for Specify 6.4.13, Database Schema 1.7, Released 11 Jan 2013
(Full version, requires prior installation of MySQL and Java on a server or workstation)
MySQL is embedded within SpecifyEZDB, requires prior installation of Java only, designed for single workstation use and single users, and for easier Specify evaluation without the need for a separate MySQL installation.
We have a known bug with SpecifyEZDB on Windows 7, a workaround is to run SpecifyEZDB in Compatibility Mode which can be started by right-clicking on the SpecifyEZDB.exe file in Windows 7 and choosing: "Troubleshoot Compatibility" and then "Try Recommended Settings".
Specify Mobile WorkBench
(For portable and batch data entry, download package is a zipped directory, download, uncompress and move to a working directory or USB flash memory drive. Do not overwrite any previous Mobile WorkBench installation or WorkBench data will be lost. We have a known bug with running the Mobile WorkBench on Windows 7, a workaround is to run the MWB in Compatibility Mode which can be started by right-clicking on the MWB exe file in Windows 7 and choosing: "Troubleshoot Compatibility" and then "Try Recommended Settings".)
Note: Older releases of Specify will not work with an updated/newer Specify database schema/structure. This situation applies when Specify is updated on one workstation with a new release which updates the schema of a shared network server database. Other users connecting to the same Specify (MySQL) database on the server will not be able to access their data until their workstations are updated to the same Specify release level. The table below shows which software releases updated the database schema. Future releases which update the database schema will be identified in their Release Notes.