When you create a data export from your Sifter account, attachments are not included directly in the export. They are included as links to the files on Amazon S3 where Sifter stores attachments.

Here's what you need to know about the exports:

  1. The links in the XML file are XML encoded and will not work without decoding them. In order to safely embed URLs in XML, they need to be encoded. So copying and pasting a URL straight from the export will not work. Most XML reading tools will handle this automatically, but if you're doing it manually, you'll need to replace any instances of "&" with "&".
  2. Closing your account or deleting a project will delete your attachments. If you close your account or delete a project, the files will be deleted, and the links in the export will no longer work.
  3. Attachment links are only valid for 48 hours. For security, the attachment links expire 48 hours from when the export is generated. If you do not download the files within that timeframe, you will need to re-export the data to generate new links.

If you need any help downloading attachments from an export, just let us know. Alternatively, if you're technical and comfortable using Ruby on the command line, you can download the attached Ruby script to download the files yourself so you can customize how they're downloaded and where they're stored.

Gist for f​etch.rb