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I went with a different approach in the end: Download a complete layer through WFS with outputFormat set to SHAPE-ZIP. What you get is a zipped shapefile of that layer. Import that file back into Geoserver via the restful Importer Extension. Although this might feel a bit hacky, it works quite well for me.


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If the service is registered with OpenData, the service's OpenData page will allow you to download the data in a variety of different formats including Shapefiles. Another way to do this would be to query all the features and save the resulting JSON (see sample JavaScript code), then use the JSON to Features geoprocessing tool tool to create a feature class....


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There is no copy facility in the UI, but I believe you could create one using the REST API and a bit of programming instead, just grab both the resource (feature type or coverage) and the layer using a GET request, and then POST a modified version with only the name changed back: http://docs.geoserver.org/stable/en/user/rest/index.html



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