LOB Data in Delimited Fields

This format handles LOBs of different sizes within the same column (data file field) without a problem. However, this added flexibility can affect performance because SQL*Loader must scan through the data, looking for the delimiter string.

As with single-character delimiters, when you specify string delimiters, you should consider the character set of the data file. When the character set of the data file is different than that of the control file, you can specify the delimiters in hexadecimal notation (that is, X'hexadecimal string'). If the delimiters are specified in hexadecimal notation, then the specification must consist of characters that are valid in the character set of the input data file. In contrast, if hexadecimal notation is not used, then the delimiter specification is considered to be in the client's (that is, the control file's) character set. In this case, the delimiter is converted into the data file's character set before SQL*Loader searches for the delimiter in the data file.

Note the following:

  • Stutter syntax is supported with string delimiters (that is, the closing enclosure delimiter can be stuttered).

  • Leading whitespaces in the initial multicharacter enclosure delimiter are not allowed.

  • If a field is terminated by WHITESPACE, then the leading whitespaces are trimmed.


    SQL*Loader defaults to 255 bytes when moving CLOB data, but a value of up to 2 gigabytes can be specified. For a delimited field, if a length is specified, then that length is used as a maximum. If no maximum is specified, then it defaults to 255 bytes. For a CHAR field that is delimited and is also greater than 255 bytes, you must specify a maximum length. See "CHAR" for more information about the CHAR data type.

Example 11-16 shows an example of loading LOB data in delimited fields.

Example 11-16 Loading LOB Data in Delimited Fields

Control File Contents

INFILE 'sample.dat' "str '|'"
INTO TABLE person_table
   (name        CHAR(25),
1  "RESUME"     CHAR(507) ENCLOSED BY '<startlob>' AND '<endlob>')

Data File (sample.dat)

Julia Nayer,<startlob>        Julia Nayer
                          500 Example Parkway
                          jnayer@us.example.com ...   <endlob>
2  |Bruce Ernst, .......


The callouts, in bold, to the left of the example correspond to the following notes:

  1. <startlob> and <endlob> are the enclosure strings. With the default byte-length semantics, the maximum length for a LOB that can be read using CHAR(507) is 507 bytes. If character-length semantics were used, then the maximum would be 507 characters. See "Character-Length Semantics"

  2. If the record separator '|' had been placed right after <endlob> and followed with the newline character, then the newline would have been interpreted as part of the next record. An alternative would be to make the newline part of the record separator (for example, '|\n' or, in hexadecimal notation, X'7C0A').