Library Management – Frequently Asked Questions

by GRAPHISOFT, Greg Kmethy and lnagy · updated: 09.18.2012

 

Introduction

Library Management in ArchiCAD 13 changed in two main areas:

  • The Embedded Library can be used for project-specific objects.
  • The BIM Server Library technology enables the automatic update of server libraries used by solo and Teamwork projects alike.

The following sketch illustrates how libraries are managed in Teamwork:

twlibs.png

  • Company libraries are uploaded from their source location to the BIM Server. (The ArchiCAD library is uploaded to the BIM Server by default when sharing a project in Teamwork.)
  • Libraries can be uploaded to any BIM Server; but it is recommended that it be the same BIM Server which houses your Teamwork projects.
  • A Teamwork project has no linked libraries, only BIM Server libraries and an Embedded Library.
  • If changes are made to the source of a BIM Server library, the BIM Server library must be refreshed. (To do this, use the Refresh button in Manage BIM Server Libraries.)
  • The client has a local copy of the Library, which is updated from the BIM Server via Send/Receive.
  • Embedded objects reside only in the project, and not in any other source location. The client’s project copy (together with its embedded objects) is synchronized with the project on the BIM Server via Send/Receive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I load a local library if I am in Teamwork mode?

No. A Teamwork project can use only BIM Server libraries and an Embedded Library. If you want use a local library, you must upload it to a BIM Server, then use Library Manager’s “Add” function to add this library from the BIM Server to the Teamwork project.

The Embedded Library. What’s it for? How it came to be?

The Embedded Library is designed to store custom, project-specific objects in the project itself (rather than in your file system) to ensure that they are always available and editable. Prior to the debut of the Embedded Library in ArchiCAD 13, objects specific to the given Project were stored in a project-specific library somewhere in the file system. This was an additional library besides the usual ArchiCAD and Office Libraries and had to be managed separately, adding another layer of complexity. The Embedded Library is aimed at eliminating the need for a project-specific library in your file system, since with its help all project-specific objects and their needed macros, textures etc. can be stored in the project file itself. The Embedded libraries may contain:

  • Object files you create and save yourself (e.g. Patch, Stair, Trusses, Custom Object, Custom Door/Window components)
  • Any object file that you browse for and add to this library, including Web Objects downloaded through GDL Web Control
  • GDL Objects dropped into the ArchiCAD application from either your file system on your computer or from the page of an object on the bimcomponents.com portal.
  • MEP objects coming from an imported IFC file.
  • Blocks coming from a DWG file and converted into GDL Objects.
  • Image files loaded for use as Material textures or other purposes.
  • Embedded objects of a Hotlinked Module will be included in the Embedded library of the host Project (they will be removed when the Hotlinked Module is removed from the host Project)

/!\ If you work in Teamwork, you must embed objects created by Add-Ons, like stairs and trusses, otherwise editing these elements will not be possible. It is highly recommended to embed custom objects and custom door/window components. Do not embed library parts form the ArchiCAD library.

When I upload over the Internet other users in the office cannot see my library, or vice versa. Why?

It is best if every user accesses the BIM Server projects using the qualified domain name of the server. Libraries and Hotlinks are referenced using the join address. If the IP address is used, those “at the office’ will be using a local IP address which is not the same as the public IP address others would use when accessing the BIM Server through the Internet. The qualified domain name gets around the difference in IP addresses allowing everybody to access all libraries and hotlinks. As long as a project is consistently accessed from the point it was shared via the qualified domain name no library access problems should arise.

What is the difference between embedding objects in my project and saving the project as a PLA?

Embedded objects exist only in that particular project and can be used only in that project. (In contrast, objects of a linked library can exist in several projects.) If you delete an object from the Embedded Library, it is gone. If you edit the script of an embedded object, that modification will occur right there, in the Embedded Library of that particular project. In contrast, a PLA file is read-only, and the objects must be extracted before they can be edited. Such edits will affect the object in all projects which use it, not just the project you are working on.

Couldn’t I put all my objects into the embedded library, as a way to archive my project?

This NOT recommended. This would result in a very large-sized file and associated speed problems (e.g. with Autosave). Moreover, since you cannot drag a folder (or an LCF or PLA) into the Embedded Library, it is not practical to embed all of the libraries used by your project as a way to archive. Many objects (like doors and windows) use macros, which need to be loaded as well for the object to work properly. The preferred format for archiving is to save as PLA.

How can I move Embedded Objects from one project to another?

Embedded objects exist in their particular project only; there is no file link. As a rule, you should embed only those objects that are project-specific. If you want to use a custom object in several projects, it is better to place it into a Company Library stored on a BIM Server that is accessible to all users, rather than save it to an Embedded Library.

Nevertheless, there are two ways to achieve this:

First method: export an Embedded object to location on your hard drive, and then add it to the Embedded Library of another project.

  1. Select the Embedded Object in Library Manager, in the first project. (If you are in Teamwork mode, you must first reserve the object.)
  2. Use the Export icon in Library Manager to export the object to a local folder. Browse for or create the location to which to save the object.
  3. In the second project, use Library Manager’s Add function to browse to the file and add it to the Embedded Library.

Second method: The project that contains the embedded objects you need should be hotlinked to your current project.

  1. In your project, place the source project (the one that contains the objects you need) as a Hotlinked Module.
  2. The Hotlinked Module’s embedded library will be added to your Embedded Library.
  3. In Hotlink manager, Break the hotlink.
  4. The embedded objects are now full-fledged components of your Embedded Library.

{i} Using hotlink is a trick to preserve the tree hierarchy of the embedded library. It is not possible to ‘Add’ existing folders that reside on a disk to your embedded library through the Library manager.

What happens to the libraries and objects in my AC12 file when I open the file in AC13?

Your “Local Libraries” from AC 12 automatically become Linked libraries in AC 13.

Your “Other Objects” from AC 12 become Embedded Objects in AC 13.

Any “Missing Objects” in the AC 12 file are listed in a separate “Missing Objects” folder in AC 13′s Library Manager. In this case, if you know the location of the missing object file, use Library Manager’s Add function to browse to the file and add it to the Embedded Library.

/!\ If you want to work with your migrated file in Teamwork mode, then you need to re-organize your libraries – You need to move project-specific objects to the embedded library. See About Embedded Libraries

What happened to the History tab page in Library Manager?

In ArchiCAD 13, the Library Manager no longer has a History tab page; it was removed in creating the design of the new Library Manager.

How should I use BIM Server Libraries in my project?

To use a BIM Server Library in either a Teamwork project or a solo project, the library must first be uploaded to a BIM Server, using Manage BIM Server Libraries (File > Libraries and Objects > Manage BIM Server Libraries). Once libraries are uploaded, individual users can add these BIM Server Libraries to projects, either solo or Teamwork.

It is best to store the libraries a teamwork project uses on the BIM server where the teamwork project is stored. As you add BIM Servers to balance your project loads make sure that each BIM Server is self-containing. In this way if you have a service interruption on a BIM Server for any particular reason your users can switch to using a different BIM Server. This is a form of risk management. If Projects use libraries from other BIM Servers you have increased the risk of a service interruption on one machine indirectly affecting the use of projects on other machines.

How do I upload libraries to the BIM Server?

To upload libraries to the BIM Server, use the Manage BIM Server Libraries dialog box (File > Libraries and Objects > Manage BIM Server Libraries) – this is like a Library Manager for the BIM Server.

  • Note: The Manage BIM Server Libraries dialog box is also accessible from the Choose Server dialog box that appears when you are adding a BIM Server Library in the Library Manager.

LibraryUpload.png

In Manage BIM Server Libraries, you can upload, remove, and otherwise manage libraries on the BIM Server. Uploaded libraries can include PLA or LCF files, or any folders. You cannot upload individual gsm files, just lcf, pla, and regular folders. Only a Server Administrator or Project Administrator can use the commands (e.g. upload, delete, relocate) in this dialog box.

How can I upload individual objects to the BIM Server?

The Upload button in Manage BIM Server Libraries will let you browse only for a folder, a PLA or an LCF file. To upload individual objects to the BIM Server, first place them into a folder, then upload the folder.

How do I add a BIM Server Library to my Teamwork Project?

To add a BIM Server Library to a Teamwork Project, you must first reserve the BIM Server Libraries in Library Manager. (In a solo project, you do not need to reserve anything to add a BIM Server to the project.) Adding a library to a project can be done by any Teamwork user, provided that their role allows for this.

  1. Open Library Manager (File > Libraries and Objects > Library Manager).
  2. Select “BIM Server Libraries” (either the root folder or any of the listed BIM server libraries) from the hierarchy. The control lights appear.
  3. Click Reserve. Reserving the “BIM Server Libraries” in Library Manager enables you to Add such libraries to your project without running into conflicts with other Teamwork users.
  4. From the pop-up alongside the Add button, choose Use BIM Server Library.

UseBimServerLibrary.png

  1. Choose a BIM Server (enter user name and password as necessary). The list of libraries uploaded to that server appears.
  2. Choose a library and click Add.
  3. When you are done adding, release the BIM Server Libraries item in Library Manager.

I am in Library Manager and want to add a BIM Server Library, but I can’t find the “Use BIM Server” command. Where is it?

The command will appear in the Add button options of Library Manager only after you have reserved BIM Server Libraries. To do this, click any BIM Server Library in the Library Manager (or click the root folder). The control lights appear; click Reserve. Now, the Use BIM Server Library command will appear in the Add pop-up at the top of Library Manager.

In solo mode, why should I add libraries from a BIM Server? Shouldn’t I just use linked libraries?

BIM Server Libraries can be added to solo projects as well as to Teamwork projects, as long as the user has a valid user name and password enabling access to the server. The advantage of using server libraries over linked libraries is that whenever a company library is updated on the BIM Server, this update is carried out for all users, both solo and Teamwork.

{i} Note that using a BIM server library in solo mode does not mean that you will have long download periods every time you open a project using that library. A local library cache will be created on your machine, and only changes must be sent back and forth to the BIM server – similar to the way satellite libraries worked in previous ArchiCAD versions.

When I share a solo project in Teamwork, what happens to the linked libraries?

By default, linked libraries that do not yet exist on the BIM Server are uploaded to the BIM Server, and the project will use them as BIM Server Libraries. This happens automatically if you just click “Share” in the Share dialog box. If the linked library already exists on the server, it is not uploaded, and the project uses the library that is already on the server. The “Custom Libraries” option in the Share dialog box enables you to depart from this default process: you can choose to upload other libraries from other BIM Servers, or opt not to upload a particular linked library to the server.

What happens to library objects that are part of a Hotlinked Module?

See Managing Hotlinks in Teamwork.

I can reserve a placed object in the project, and I can also reserve an Embedded Object from the Library Manager (or Object Editor). What’s the difference?

These two reservations are entirely unrelated. When you reserve a placed instance of an object in the project, you can then edit its Object Settings, either in place or in the Settings dialog box. Your edits will affect only the particular object instance you have reserved. It is possible to reserve an Embedded Object itself (as opposed to its placed instance), either in the Library Manager, or in the Object Editor. (Both locations will indicate the object’s reservation status; they are in sync.) You can then edit its script in the Object Editor. Editing the script will affect all instances of this object in the project, regardless of who has reserved those instances.

How do I edit the script of an object that I have placed from a BIM Server Library?

Editing script of object placed from BIM Server Library while in Teamwork mode:

You can edit the script of a library object placed from a BIM Server Library only if:

  • the source of the BIM Server Library is available to you (i.e. it is located on a server in your network, or on a local machine)
  • the source of the library is located in a regular folder, and is not a PLA or LCF file
  • your access rights (if you are in Teamwork) include “Library Part – Delete/Modify”

Otherwise, the Object Editor window of such an object is Read-Only.

  • {i} Tip: The source library folder of BIM Server Libraries should not be readily accessible, to prevent casual edits that will affect all projects using the library.

Provided that the conditions listed above are met:

  1. Select the object and open its object editing window, using File > Libraries and Objects > Open Object.
  2. Reserve the Object editing window.
  3. Make the necessary edits. You are now directly editing the source of the library object, although other users cannot see your modifications yet.
  4. Close the window and save the modifications.
  5. Re-open the Object editing window, then click Release.
  6. Teamwork users will update their projects with the modified library data as soon as they do a Receive.
  7. Solo users will update their projects with the modified library data as soon as they do a Reload from Library Manager

Editing script of object placed from BIM Server Library using non-Teamwork mode:

{i} Using this method you are editing the “source” of the BIM Server Library in a separate ArchiCAD in non-Teamwork mode. This is the safest way to edit library parts, since you are not disrupting Teamwork at all. Only when you are finished editing and testing parts, will you synchronize the modified source with the BIM Server database. Note however, that if you use this workflow, then the source of the Library should not be accessible to other team mates.

  1. If you are in a Teamwork project, save your project as a solo project. You have now detached yourself from the Teamwork project. If you are already in a solo project, go to Step 2.
  2. In Library Manager, “Remove” the BIM Server Library. Then add the source of the BIm Server library to the solo project as a Linked Library.
  3. Now make your edits to the object(s) as needed, using File > Libraries and Objects > Open Object. At this point, no other users have access to this modified data, since you are editing the object at its source folder, not on the server.
  4. Go to Manage BIM Server Libraries and click Refresh. This way the BIM Server Library is refreshed from its source, and your modifications will be carried out in the BIM Server data.

RefreshLibrary.png

  1. Teamwork users will update their projects with the modified BIM Server library data as soon as they do a Receive.
  2. Solo users will update their projects with the modified BIM Server library data as soon as they do a Reload from Library Manager.

Summary of Recommendations

  1. Make sure that BIM Servers are self-contained. All libraries used by teamwork projects on a particular BIM Server should be loaded to that BIM Server.
  2. Keep embedded library small.
  3. After migrating a project into ArchiCAD 13, move stairs, trusses, and other custom library parts into a linked project specific library that should be uploaded to the BIM Server where the project has been shared.
  4. When you archive a project, use the PLA file format. It is NOT recommended to save all objects in the Embedded Library.
  5. The source library folder of BIM Server Libraries should NOT be readily accessible. Only the CAD Manager or the architect in charge of editing libraries should have access to it.

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