How to Manage Content In Bulk

  1. You should always begin by downloading the current data for your content type. If you’re just starting out, you’ll get an empty file with all of the appropriate columns. And if there is already content, starting with a current base file is the best way to ensure that you don’t accidentally overwrite anyone else’s changes.
  2. CSV files are plain text, and there any many tools available for your platform to edit them, from text editors to spreadsheets. The most ubiquitous choice, Microsoft Excel, has some quirks in its handling of CSV data. If you are using Excel (or Apple’s Numbers, or a similar spreadsheet application) to edit the files, please be sure to use the download links labeled for Excel. If you are a Mac user, please do not use Excel 2011, as it does not correctly handle these documents; please use Numbers instead.
  3. Likewise, when saving your changes from a spreadsheet application, please be sure to explicitly export the data to CSV, rather than just using the save command. It is especially important to ensure that you save in Unicode (UTF-8) format if your data contains letters, symbols, or diacritical marks outside of standard American English (like ®, ™, phở, résumé, or ragnarök).
    • In Excel, press the Office menu, choose Save As, then Other Formats (at the bottom of the list). In the dialog, choose “Unicode Text (*.txt)” as the format.
    • In Numbers, use File > Export To > CSV…. Be sure to expand the Advanced Options, and choose “Unicode (UTF-8)” as the text encoding.
  4. While most of the columns in the files should be familiar to you from editing items using the backoffice forms, there are a few columns that deserve special mention. If you’re loading initial data into a brand new event, chances are that you can ignore them entirely.
    • ID: Whenever an item is created in Engagefully, it’s assigned a unique ID number automatically. The value in this column is how the system determines whether you’re creating a new record, or updating an existing one.
    • External Key and Timestamp: These columns are included to support importing data into Engagefully from some other system, usually from a database export. We have much more information about them available here.
    • Version: Every item in Engagefully has a version number, and it changes every time the item does. We include the version numbers in the data files to help prevent two users from editing the same item at the same time. You should not edit this value yourself.

A Few Words About Formatting

Most of the information loaded into Engagefully is text: things like names, meeting locations, job titles, and so on. A few of the elements have more specific requirements in terms of how they need to be formatted for the import process to recognize them properly.

  • Dates: The upload process allows most standard American formats for the start and end of sessions, but they must include both the date and the time. The values will be assumed to be in the event’s local time zone.
  • Internally, Engagefully stores all of these values in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), and that’s what you’ll see when you download the data. Don’t be surprised when the value is a little different from what you typed in! The values will be formatted like this: 2013-11-18T23:10:00Z. That’s Monday, November 18th at 21:10 (9:10pm) UTC, which is 4:10pm in the Eastern time zone of the US (UTC-5). Please be careful of the difference when editing existing session data!
  • URLs: Web addresses, like a company’s web site, or the address of a resource file, must always be absolute URLs, beginning with http:// or https://.
  • Descriptions: the descriptive content for an item may be plain text, or they may contain some limited HTML markup.

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