How To Search - General

Searches in TLS are made possible in two ways. One is through Basic Search which presents a simple one-field search interface keyed to searches in the central parts of the database, and one is through Standard Search and Complex Search which present the user with more search options. Basic Search is furnished with explanations on the search page; here the options available in Standard Search and Complex Search are explained.

When one searches for a book in a library catalogue or for some information on the Internet, one is searching in a database. A search engine such as Google looks very simple, but it pays off to know a little about how searches are performed with Google and how one can more effectively find what one is looking for. If one one uses the "all fields" option in a library catalogue, one will probably be getting too many hits; the same applies if one simply writes a series of search terms in Google and clicks the search button. When searching in a database, there are always a number of options available that make it possible for an "information worker" to perform more precise searches. Every decent library catalogue has a search guide and one can find help with Google's deceptively simple interface on e.g. GoogleGuide. - If finding information is important to one, one will waste a considerable amount of time if one does not pay some attention to how these "information machines" work.

Fortunately, most databases are built upon on the same principles and though wild-cards and search operators may differ from database to database, the principles underlying them are basically the same.

A database (such as TLS) consists of a number of tables (such as Characters or Texts); each table consists of a number of records, and each record contains a number of fields (such as Stroke Count and Text Name). Of course, one can only search intelligently if one know what kind of information one can expect to find, but this is not the goal of this introduction: for a description of what kind of information is contained in the individual fields in the TLS database tables, please refer to the explanations in the description of the database contents in the help pages of each individual table; in this part of the help pages only the general principles of the search process will be explained.

When you search a database, you request records from the database that conform to your search criteria, i.e. you tell the database to return records to you that contain certain information which has been entered into certain fields. The search will be performed according to a certain search logic which it is important to know.

For the purpose of these help pages we will use example of searches in the Characters and Texts table. We will be searching in fields like the following:

(The last option is obviously not that important, but it supplies an example of a date search, which is also possible in TLS in this particular field).

Each of the fields in question belongs to a certain type:

We will e.g. have a record which has:

And another record which reads:

When searching a database, it is important to bear in mind the type of the field you search in, since each type allows different kinds of searches.

Jens Østergaard Petersen