Bill Gibson

Import Course Content Fails: file name exceeds 255 max characters limit

Discussion created by Bill Gibson on Apr 1, 2016

I was attempting to import content from a Blackboard 9 archive (zip file) into a Canvas course yesterday and after importing some content the process gave a Failed error message, without any details.  But, some content had been copied.

4-1-2016 10-07-47 AM.pngI contacted the Help Desk and pretty quickly they found the culprit(s).  Canvas has a 255 characters maximum on file names and there were a couple of file names that exceeded that maximum in the zip file.  The "imsmanifest.xml" file keeps track of the files/content in the Bb Archive and is used when importing content to name & categorize the import items.  I was directed to find the file names that exceeded the character size limit and truncate them to satisfy the 255 characters limit.


Here is an example of one of the file names, "Chapter 014 - Instructor Test Items - Learning Goal 6 - Understand the management of receipts and disbursements, including float, speeding up collections, slowing down payments, cash concentration, zero-balance accounts, and investing in marketable securities. "  Apparently, spaces are included as characters so this file name is 260 characters.  *Here is where I would say that "a computer person" would never name a file as descriptively.  Maybe just naming it "Chapter 014 - Instructor Test Items - Learning Goal 6" would be sufficient to distinguish this file from Learning Goals 1-5, and 7-...  Abbreviate a word or two to get to the 255 max limit.


I did an "eyeball comparison" on the longest seeming file names, and then copy-n-pasted the longest seeming names into Word so that I could get an accurate character count.


Once you have the modified imsmanifest.xml file you just replace the one in the Bb Archive zip file and then do your import again, making sure to check the "Overwrite assessment content with matching IDs" so you don't end up with a bunch of duplicate content.