Importing Data into Viewshare

The first step in creating a dynamic interface to your cultural heritage collection is to import / upload, augment, and save collection data in Viewshare. Once you have published your data you can generate views of the collection to embed and share online.

Uploading Your Collection Data



Before you can upload your data you will need to request a Viewshare account. Once you have an account, then login. Viewshare will open to your personal profile page.

Click on the “Create View” blue button in the upper right hand corner of your profile. You can also select “Create View” from the View dropdown option on the navigation menu:




In the “Create a View” page, you will be asked which data format you wish to upload. 



Viewshare can import data in the following forms:

1. Simple rectangular Excel spreadsheets (if using MS Excel, use only .xls files; .xlsx are not currently supported.
2. An XML file conforming to the Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS) schema.
3. Dublin Core Data from  OAI Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). The Open Archives Initiative develops and promotes interoperability standards that aim to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content.
4. JSON data—Data collections represented within a JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) list.
5. A ContentDM database—Digital Collection Management Software from OCLC.


Choose the link from the upload page that matches the kind of data you are importing. Click on the appropriate link to upload data from a web location/URL or from a local file on your computer.

If you don't have data structured in any of these formats, try starting with this example simple spreadsheet of digitized postcards from Fairfax County Virginia. Each of the different formats will require different kinds of information. For example, if you upload a spreadsheet from your desktop you will simply need to locate the file on your computer using the Browse and Open buttons.

In contrast, if you import a collection over OAI-PMH you will need to provide the base URL, the set you would like to import, and the number of records you would like to import.

Click on the Upload button to complete the upload of the data set:




Describing Your Collection Data


After uploading your data you will see the data fields for each record in your data set as illustrated below. Most data fields are set by default to text:




Saving Your Data:

Before you proceed with modifying the fields, click on the Save button in the upper right hand corner and give you data set a Title in the dialog box and a Description. Select one of the radio buttons corresponding to the view settings options, Public or Private (public will allow your views to be seen by anyone with the link, while private views can only be shared with certain individual(s) or groups). Then click on the blue Update button to save:


If you want to edit the fields in your data set, go to Views>My Views in the upper navigation menu and then select Build next to the data set you want to modify: 

In the next screen, click on Edit in the upper right hand corner. You will see the editable fields listed below:

  • You can browse through the records in your collection by clicking on the forward and reverse arrows in the upper right hand of the window.
  • If there are fields that you wish to remove, you can click the orange X next to a field to remove them. Note: Removing a data field will remove it from all the records in the collection, not just the record you are currently editing.
  • For each field you can select from the drop down menu to identify the type of information that field includes. Properly identifying the data field will enable functions such as hyperlinks and will allow you to create views using the data.  The fields are set by default to the “Text” type.

Field types include:

  • Text—Any data field that contains mostly text (such as Title, Author, or Notes fields).
  • URL—An external web address or link associated with that record.
  • Image—A URL linking to an image file. In order for Viewshare to render this URL as a thumbnail image, the URL in this field must end in an image file extension (jpg, gif, png, etc.)
  • Date/Time—A field containing a time expression, such as the year that an object in the collection data was created.
  • Location—This field refers to any data referring to a geographic location (such as City and State).
  • Number—Any non-date data that is in numerical format, such as item number or accession number.
  • Audio URL—A URL linking to an audio file associated with that record.
  • Video URL—A URL linking to a video file associated with that record.
In order for certain views to generate properly, some data fields need to be set to a certain type. For instance for Map views, any fields containing geographical information (such as City, State, or Country) should be set to “Location” rather than “Text” in the Type dropdown menu.

Here, I have changed the field types of some of my fields, changing Date to “Date/Time,” Image URL to “Image” and Location to “Location” Notice that a thumbnail image appears next to the Image URL field when the type is set to “Image”:




Adding to and Augmenting Your Data


  • By clicking the blue Add Property button you can add additional fields to your data that Viewshare may use to generate maps, timelines, and other visualizations. This allows you to take information, such as plain text names for places and derive the kind of structured latitude and longitude information required to locate that place name on a map.
  • For example, you can have Viewshare enhance your records with latitude and longitude data, international standard notation for dates, or by extracting multiple values from a single data field for use in views.
  • Clicking the Add Property button opens the Data Augmentation dialog box. Here you will enter the information to create a new data field.

First, select one of the tabs at the top of the dialog box depending on what kind of visualization you want to create from the new field:

  • Enter a name for your new augmented field where it reads New Property Name. The name for the augmented field should be unique.
  • Select the checkbox next to the existing field(s) that will generate the date for your new augmented field. For instance, if you want to create an augmented location field, select the field(s) that contains location information (for example, City and State).
  • Click on the blue Create Property button to generate the augmented field. It may take several seconds to create the augmented field; progress is shown in the blue status bar at the top of the page.
  • If generated successfully, the newly-augmented field will appear in the list of fields below the status bar, which will change from blue to green:


If Viewshare fails to generate the field, the blue status bar will turn pink and display the message “Augmentation Error.” You may click on the green Feedback tab to report an issue to the Viewshare staff and someone should reply to your inquiry.

Refreshing Your Collection Data


In many cases, after creating a view of data users find small issues that require remediation. The refresh data function allows users to make any changes they would like to their original data source and then refresh the values in their data set. While you can always just upload the revised data set and build new views, the refresh data feature is valuable in that it preserves all of the prior augmentations of your data and your views. You can refresh your data at any point. On the main data page, click the "Inspect" button of the data set you wish to refresh and on the following page, click on the "Refresh" buttons (pictured below), and upload your revised data set:



  • Once you refresh the data you will need to check your field types to make sure they are set to the correct data type (they may revert to the “Text” default).
  • If you have new records in the refreshed data set, you will also need to delete any augmented fields and re-create them in order to reflect the new records.

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