Recollector User’s Guide


Viewing your collection on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad


The Recollector App is a free iPhone/iPod app that works in conjunction with the PC version of Recollector.  There is also an iPad version, named Recollector App HD.  With the Recollector App you can carry your collection database with you, on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.  Note: There is an equivalent version of the Recollector App that runs on Android smartphones and tablets.  See the User’s Guide page on the Android version of the Recollector App for more information.


The Recollector App works as a read-only viewer for your collection data.  You do not add or edit data with the App; you continue to update your collection using the version of Recollector that runs on your PC.  But any time that you want to send a copy of your collection to your iPhone, iPod, or iPad, you can now do that, and take your collection data with you on the road, on a device that fits into your pocket.


There are three steps you need to take to use the Recollector App:

1.      Install the Recollector App on your iPhone or iPod touch, or install Recollector App HD on your iPad.

2.      In the PC version of Recollector, save your collection data for export to the App.

3.      Move the download file created in the previous step to your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

Once you have completed these steps, you will be ready to view your collection data on your Apple mobile device.  The following sections describe these three steps in more detail.


Installing the Recollector App on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad


The Recollector App and Recollector App HD are available, free, at Apple App Store. Search in the App Store for “Recollector”.  The Recollector App is aimed at iOS version 5.1 or later.  It is not designed to run on earlier iOS versions.


Installing the Recollector App is no different from installing any other free iPhone or iPad app.  You just locate it in the App Store (search for “Recollector”), select the Free app and click “Install App”.  This step only needs to be performed once.  Even if you want to download and view multiple collections, you only need one copy of the Recollector App.  Of course, if updated and enhanced versions of the Recollector App are released, then you may re-install the App to bring it up to the latest version. (Usually, app updates will be applied automatically to your mobile device when they become available.)

Once installed, you will see the Recollector App icon among your applications.  If you start the App, you will see the list of available collections.  Initially only a sample collection (a small collection of maps) is shown.  This sample collection is shipped with the Recollector App so that you can try out the App before using it with your own data.  Once you have downloaded your own collection data, this sample collection will not be shown in the list of available collections.  Read the next sections to learn how to export your collection data and move it to your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.  Once a collection database has been moved to your iPhone, iPod, or iPad, the Recollector App will find your data and let you start viewing it.


Saving your collection data for export to the Recollector App


Choose Export for download to the Recollector App from the File menu of the collection viewer window to generate a data file for downloading.  If there is a currently active subset in effect (either a regular subset or a search subset, or both), you will be asked whether you want to export just the records in the subset or all the records in the collection.  The export will produce a single file that contains both the text and image data for all the records in the currently open collection (or in the current subset of that collection if you requested to limit the export to just the records in the subset).


You will next be prompted to specify a name and location for the download file.  By default, the file will have the same name as the collection file itself, except with _App appended to the main part of the filename.  So, for example, if your collection file is MapCollection.xml, the suggested name for the download file will be MapCollection_App.xml. It is recommended that you accept the suggested filename, because the Recollector App recognizes distinct collections by their filenames. By using the suggested filename, you can ensure that when you want to update your collection data on your mobile device, the Recollector App will recognize the new export file as an update to an existing collection, rather than viewing it as an entirely new collection. In any case, if you decide to change the name from the suggested default, be sure that the filename extension remains .xml.  You can also specify the directory in which the generated download file is placed.  By default, the program will suggest the same directory that was used the last time you did an export.  If this is the first time you have performed an export, the program will suggest that the export file be put into the same directory as the collection file. Dropbox is the recommended way of downloading your export file, and if you plan to use Dropbox then you will want to specify the Apps/Recollector sub-folder of your Dropbox folder as the target directory for the export. See the section, below, about using Dropbox, for more details.


The program will also ask you to specify how images should be chosen for inclusion in the download file:

When your collection is sent to the Recollector App, images are sent in thumbnail format.  Even so, particularly for collections with many images, the images can add considerable size (and, consequently, download time) to the download file.  Therefore you are given several options for the handling of images:

·         Include ALL images – This choice is appropriate the first time you download a particular collection.  Thumbnails for all of the collection’s images will be included.  Consequently, this choice creates the largest possible download file and will require the longest download time.

·         Include only one image per record – This choice may make sense if you have many images with each record, yet you don’t anticipate a need for all of that imagery when looking at your collection with the Recollector App.  The program will only include the first image found for a record and skip the other images.

·         Include only images added or updated since the last export – This choice is usually the most sensible option for second and subsequent downloads, when you just want to get your Recollector App version of the collection database in sync with your PC version.  With this choice, the program only includes images that are new or whose file modification date differs from the modification date when the image was last downloaded for export to the Recollector App.  Note: This choice will be disabled the first time a collection is exported for download to the Recollector App, since no prior download history will be available.

·         Exclude images – This choice makes sense if you are not interested in bringing images along with the data from your collection.  It also makes sense if you know that you have not added or updated any images since the last export to the Recollector App. In this case (when no images have been added or changed since the last export), you would produce the same image-free download file as you would get from the previous choice (include only images added or updated since the last export).  However, processing speed for generating the download file will be faster if you specify up front that images are to be excluded.

Notes regarding images:

·         The size of the thumbnail images created for export is initially set according to the thumbnail image size specified in the Preferences dialog (opened from the Options menu).  The note in the dialog shows you the current thumbnail height and width settings.  To change these settings, click the Adjust thumbnail size button and specify modified sizes on the subsequent dialog.  It should be noted that the file size for a download file increases exponentially with the thumbnail size.  A thumbnail image size of 300x300 pixels will require approximately four times as much space (and have a four-fold longer download time) as a 150x150 pixel thumbnail. Because the iPhone screen is 320 pixels wide, it is a good idea to keep the maximum width at a number less than this.  Specifying maximum pixel dimensions of 200x200 generally produces pleasing results.

·         You also have the option of downloading images in their full resolution, as well as the thumbnails.  This, of course, may produce an extremely large download file and the longest download time.  The Recollector App will, in any case, display your images from the downloaded thumbnails.  However, if a full-size image has also been provided, then the Recollector App lets you click on a thumbnail image, which will cause the full-size image to be displayed in a pan-and-zoom format.  Normally full-resolution images are larger than the device’s screen, so you will need to slide the image around to look at different parts of the overall image.

·         The Recollector App gathers all images for a given collection into a single folder on the iPhone/iPod/iPad device.  Therefore, images within a single collection are identified only by their simple filename (e.g. 123.jpg), and not by the full pathname (e.g. C:/myimages/mapcollection/123.jpg) that they had on the PC.  The PC version of Recollector allows you to include images from different directories.  Therefore, on the PC, it is possible (but not likely) that you will have two data records in a collection pointing to two image files with the same simple filename but different full pathnames (e.g. C:/myimages/mapcollection/123.jpg and C:/added_images/123.jpg).  This case will not be handled properly by the Recollector App.  The download file will contain only one of the two images, and both records that pertain to the two original images will, in the Recollector App, point to the same image.  In other words, one of the two records in the Recollector App will include an inappropriate image.  This is a very unlikely event, since one would not typically have two different images, for two different records in your collection, with the same simple filename.  To make explicit a practice that you probably are already following: Use a distinct simple filename for each and every image in a given collection (regardless of what directories the images are stored in).

Note: Audio and video clips that are included in your collection are not exported to the Recollector App.  Only image files referenced in image/audio/video fields are exported.

Normally the program exports data for all fields in your collection (other than image fields, if you requested no images to be included).  However, only fields included in the List View are exported if you are in Limited Item Details mode.  This is the mode that you can turn on with the menu toggle on the Options menu: Limit Item Details to Only Fields Shown in List. In this mode, only those fields that are included in the List View are shown in the Item Details view.  And, similarly, when you are in this mode, only those fields shown in the List View will be included in the download file for the Recollector App.  (Images are treated specially: They are exported based on the choices described above for handling images in the download file, regardless of whether the image fields are included in the List View.)  This special handling of export when in Limited Item Details mode provides a way for you to export just a specific set of fields (rather than all of your collection’s fields), when sending your collection to the Recollector App.  If you are in Limited Item Details mode, the program will ask you, before executing the export, whether to export just the fields shown in the List View, or all fields in the collection.

Once you have chosen the image-inclusion strategy, the program will write out the download file.  Progress dialogs will report the records and images as they are written.

Moving the download file to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad

The download file must be moved from your PC to your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.  The recommended way to do this is using Dropbox.

Dropbox is a popular file sharing service (available for free, but with paying options for users who desire more storage space for shared files).  If you have Dropbox installed on your PC, you can also connect to Dropbox from the Recollector App running on your mobile device. The export file needs to be placed in the Apps/Recollector folder of the Dropbox folder on your PC. (The Apps/Recollector folder is automatically set up by Dropbox when you first connect to Dropbox from the Recollector App on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.)  You can specify the Dropbox/Apps/Recollector folder as the target directory for your export when you choose Export for Download to Recollector App from the File menu on your PC. Since Recollector remembers where you last placed an export file, you will only have to navigate to the Dropbox/Apps/Recollector folder once, since on subsequent exports the Save File dialog will automatically start out positioned at the Dropbox/Apps/Recollector folder.  If you use the suggested file name, then both the file name and its location will be initialized correctly in the Save File dialog, so you only need to click the Save button. A detailed description of how to use Dropbox to transfer your collection file can be found at the following web page:

Using the Recollector App

Once you have moved your Recollector App download file to your iPhone, iPod, or iPad, the Recollector App will be able to locate the file.  For instructions on how to use the Recollector App’s features, see the Recollector App’s User’s Guide, which you can access within the Recollector App by clicking the Options button and choosing Help.  The Recollector App Help also describes how you can update your collection information on your iPhone/iPod/iPad.  Usually this requires just exporting the latest version of the collection file, including only images that are new or modified since the last download, and then downloading this (usually small) export file.  The Recollector App will automatically merge in the updated information with the prior version of your collection database.

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