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Deleting a record in the taxonomy module

Deleting a record in the taxonomy module

I get hung up in the taxonomy module when I want to delete a record that is attached in the Names History tab, Previous Names table. There is no way to remove the row in the table to get rid of the attachment, and thus it remains forever linked and un-deletable. Is there a secret way to delete it?

Joanna McCaffrey
Biodiversity Informatics Mgr.
39 Posts
Female  Birthday  Website 
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Re: Deleting a record in the taxonomy module

Hi Joanna,

I understand the trouble you’re having when trying to delete records which are present on another record’s Names History tab. It causes problems for quite a few of our users.

As I’m sure you’re aware, the problem is to do with referential integrity. When you try to delete a record, EMu checks to ensure that it is not linked to by any other record.  Unfortunately the lists on the Names History tab document changes in synonymy by keeping lists of attachments to records that were previously part of the synonymy. Once a record is linked on the Names History tab  it cannot be deleted, because of the referential integrity checks,.

As a simple example, suppose name Aus bus is documented as having record Cus dus as its current name. You realise this is wrong and change Aus bus’s current name to Xus yus. Making this change causes Cus dus to be added to Aus bus’s Previous Current Names list on the Names History tab. You want to delete the name Cus dus altogether but you can’t because it is still linked to by Aus bus and EMu’s standard referential integrity checks prevent you.

To make matters worse, in the original version of the module all the fields on the Names History tab were read-only. This was because the Names History tab is meant to represent an “audit trail” of name changes. This meant that you could not even go to the Names History tab of Aus bus and remove the Cus dus attachment by hand. The only solution was to do this sort of tidying up in the EMu backend using a tool like texql.

In version 4.0.01 we changed the Names History tab so that it is no longer read-only. This means that you can actually solve the problem from within the EMu client. If you want to delete Cus dus you can find all the places where it is attached and remove each attachment by hand before finally deleting Cus dus.  This works but it is pretty tedious to do. If you want to delete a name you need to find all the records which include the name in the either the Previous Synonyms or Previous Current Names lists and for each matching record remove all occurrence of the name you are trying to delete from the appropriate list, save the record and then move on to the next. Once all of these records have had all Names History references to your original name removed you can finally delete the name record.

In version 4.0.03 (which is not yet released), we’ve decided to take another tack. Instead of storing the entries in the Previous Synonyms or Previous Current Names lists as attachments we will be storing the entries as simple text (the Summary Data of the record in question). This means that the Names History tab will no longer include any attachments. Consequently, you’ll be able to delete records even if they appear in another record’s Names History tab. Part of the upgrade procedure for EMu 4.0.03 will change existing attachments into text fields.

In summary, I can’t give you a “secret way” to delete records like this but I think version 4.0.03 should solve your problems.


Andrew Brown (Axiell Melbourne)
1 Posts
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