The search process

You perform a search using a search form, inputting certain search criteria and asking the database to process them.

The search form is reached by pressing the button "Standard Search" or "Complex Search", found on every page. "Standard Search" limits the search field to the core fields of the database table in question, whereas "Complex Search" gives access to all of them. On the search pages you are able to search on each of the search fields individually, but in order to do so effectively, you have to know in advance which kind of information has been entered into which fields and how they are indexed (a detailed explanation of each field and its type and contents can be found in the introduction to the database contents of each individual file). In practice, of course, the name of the field reveals some of the information, e.g. whether the field is a text field or a number field; one may also be able to guess whether it is likely to contain Chinese characters or not.

Using the the pop-up menus on the search pages, you can choose which field to search in the first column of the search forms, which search operator to use in the third column and then enter the specific term you wish to search for in the box in the fourth column. The third column on the search page is taken up by expressions such as "contains a character or a word which" and "contains a value which"; the first shows that the field in question is a text field and the second that it is a number field. Having done this, you press the "Perform Search" button at the bottom of the page and your search is processed.

If only one record is found, a detail page showing the contents of the record in question is shown, but if more than one record conforms to your search criteria, a hitlist displaying the records in question is shown. If more than one record has been retrieved, it is possible to narrow down the search by pressing the link provided and revising your search criteria.

The hitlist only presents some of the fields from the records found, and some of this information has been abbreviated in order to present as many records as possible in a synoptic format. The names of the fields displayed are indicated on the top.

The hitlist presents information from (at the most) 25 records at a time. If more than 25 records have been found in your search, you can move from one group of 25 records to the next or previous group of 25 records by pressing the links in the top part, or you can move to the last or first set of 25 records, or to the record groups listed in the middle. Buttons at the top of the page allow you start a new search, if you are not satisfied with what you have found.

In the hitlist you press the arrows in the left column in order to view a detail page of the record in question.

The detail page presents all the information available for a single record. Please note that if a certain field contains no information in the database, the field may be completely absent from the detail page, i.e. not even the field label will be shown. At the top you will see information found in the database table you searched in; below that, you will find data from tables that are related to that table: e.g. if you look up a certain characters in the Characters table, you will be shown information related to it from other tables, such as Phonology, Lexeme Representations and so on.

On the detail page, above the information from the database is indicated the number of records found in your search and the number of the current record within the set of records found. Navigational links similar to those on the hitlist are found. If you wish to revert to the hitlist, you can press a link which takes you back to the set of records in which the record currently displayed is a part.

Navigation inside the found set is one of the crucial concepts of using a database: by searching, you find a set of records and then you move around from record to record inside the found set.

On the detail page you are invited to present your comments on the records shown; more about this here.

Jens Østergaard Petersen