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Snapshot Command Line Tool

To better serve your integration needs, the new SIS Framework provides an improved interface for managing and processing Snapshot based data. While current command line based snapshots will continue to work with legacy data objects, the Snapshot command line tool and the Snapshot XML data format are deprecated in Blackboard Learn 9.1 Service Pack 8 and will receive only maintenance fixes. Additionally, the Snapshot command line tools will be removed in a future release. For the suggested alternative, see Student Information System (SIS).

ActiveMQ and command-line snapshot tools: To process snapshot command line requests you must open the ActiveMQ communications port. All application servers within the given installation must have the same communication port open. If this port is not open, the servers will not be able to connect to the ActiveMQ broker and will cause some application functions (for example, manual integration feeds through the user interface or command-line) to work incorrectly. The default communication port is 61616. All application nodes need to be able to communicate with the port 61616 on the designated broker. To learn more, see Configuring ActiveMQ Messaging.

Snapshot is a simple command line program that takes a feed file and pushes the data into the Blackboard Learn database. It is built for bulk operations and has several modes that can be used to facilitate different workflows. Snapshot is automatically installed as part of Blackboard Learn. It can also be installed on a separate computer which may be necessary for clients using Blackboard ASP, or for certain network setups. 

Snapshot allows all data for an entity to be transferred from an institutional information system to the Blackboard database at a particular point in time. It is called a “snapshot” because it is akin to taking a picture of the institutional database at that point in time and transferring the contents to Blackboard Learn.

Snapshot can also associate Learning Levels ("Standards" in pre-SP 8 versions, and "Goals" in SP 8) to courses by using a downloaded Learning Levels CSV (comma separated values) file. The keys in this file are used to associate courses to appropriate Learning Levels at the time the course is created, or in any course modification process executed using Snapshot. The Learning Levels file includes the document identification, the name of the learning level, the name of the standard set the learning level is a part of, the type of standard, and the status of the standard as set by the administrator.

To populate a Blackboard Learn installation, operations at small institutions and in testing environments, the Snapshot tool can be used manually. However, as the Blackboard Learn installation grows, keeping up with data integration manually can rapidly become overwhelming.

Because every institution is different, the ways that Snapshot can be automated can vary widely, depending on the business rules and the other systems involved. To achieve specific goals, Blackboard recommends thorough planning, including plans to switch Snapshot integrations to the new robust SIS Integration system in Blackboard Learn Service Pack 8. A services engagement with Blackboard Consulting can help plan, scale and upgrade your integrations.

For all Snapshot command line tool and Data Source Management command line tool documentation, download the Snapshot Command Line Tool document. No further updates will be made to this documentation.

Information on Snapshot headers, data formats and examples may be found in the SIS Integration Framework section of