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Simple Database Search - Search Help

Since Simple Database Search is a configurable utility, the provider of the database you are searching may have opted not to use some of the functionality discussed below. If you have further questions about how to search a particular database, you should contact the provider of that database.


Using the search form

With Simple Database Search a provider can opt to allow a user to search the database by:

  1. entering a search string
  2. selecting a value from a select list
  3. selecting a date range
  4. a combination of the above
Searching with a search string

By default, Simple Database Search will create a search form with an input field where a user can enter a word or a phrase. Simple Database Search will look for records in the database that contain the word(s) in the search string. Simple Database Search will further allow a user to specify that the word appears in a selected field or fields.


Search for a keyword or phrase:

Specify which fields to search
Select multiple fields by holding down the <CNTL> key and then clicking on each field you wish to search.

In this example, a user searches for "fran" in all fields in the database.

All Simple Database Searches are case insensitive. The search results will be all records that contain the search string. In this case, Simple Database Search will return records with "Fran", "Frances", "FRANCIS", or even "Anne-Frances".


Search for a keyword or phrase:

Specify which fields to search
Select multiple fields by holding down the <CNTL> key and then clicking on each field you wish to search.

In this example, a user searches for "Francine Walker" in all fields in the database.

Simple Database Search will return all records that contain both "Francine" and "Walker" in the record.


Search for a keyword or phrase:

Specify which fields to search
Select multiple fields by holding down the <CNTL> key and then clicking on each field you wish to search.

In this example, a user searches for "Francine Walker" in the Ref Lastname and Ref Firstname fields in the database.

In this example, each word must appear in at least one of the selected fields before Simple Database Search will return that record in the search results. If there is a record in the database where "Francine" appears in the Student Firstname field and "Walker" appears in the Student Lastname field but those words do not appear in the Ref Firstname or Ref Lastname fields, that record will not be included in the search results.


Searching from a select list of predetermined values

If there are fields in the database that have a finite list of possible values, the provider can opt to present a select list from which the user can pick possible values to search. The provider must create a selectlist option in the configuration file for each field that is applicable.


Search selected fields for a list of values:


In this example, the user is searching for all records that have a Ref Title field that contains "Dean".

The user can only select one value from the field select list. If the user doesn't want to search for any values in any particular field, the title of the select list should be selected. In this example, "Choose Letter Type" is selected since the user does not want to search any values from the Letter Type field.

Search selected fields for a list of values:


In this example, the user is searching for all records that have a Ref Title field that contains "Dean" and a Letter Type field that contains "Recommendation Letter".

The user can only select one value from the field select list but can choose from as many select lists as the provider chooses to create. In this example, each record returned in the search results must contain both "Dean" in the Ref Title field and "Recommendation Letter" in the Letter Type field.


Searching for records within a date range

If the datebase has a field that contains all dates, the provider can opt to allow users to search for records that fall within a date range. The provider must create a daterange option in the configuration file for the dated field.


Search for records within a date range: From date:  
To date:      
In this example, the user is searching for all records that have a Date field that falls between "11/29/1999" and "11/29/2000".


Combining search string and select list searches

If the provider allows it, a user can search for both a search string and a value from a select list.


Search for a keyword or phrase:

Specify which fields to search
Select multiple fields by holding down the <CNTL> key and then clicking on each field you wish to search.

   
Search selected fields for a list of values:


In this example, the user is searching for:
  1. all records that contain both "Francine" and "Walker" in any of the record fields
  2. all records that have a Ref Title field that contains "Dean" and a Letter Type field that contains "Recommendation Letter".
Simple Database Search will intersect the two search sets and the records that are common to both search sets or the intersection of the two search sets will be the final search results.


Using a multiple select list

If the provider chooses, there are certain select lists presented in the Simple Database Search search form that allows the user to select multiple items from the list:

  • select which fields to search
  • select which fields to display
How the user selects multiple items from a select list will depend on the operating system of the user's machine.
  • Xterm Users: Click on the fields to select or deselect more than one field.
  • Mac Users: Hold down the SHIFT key to select more than one field.
  • PC Users: Hold down the CONTROL key to select or deselect more than one field.


Sorting search results

The records from the database that are returned with the search results will appear by default in the order in which they appear in the database. A provider can opt to allow the user to change the order of the records in the search results.

If the searchform contains a select list like:

the user can instead choose one of the above fields by which to sort the search results. Selecting one of the above fields will affect the order of the records but will not affect the order of the fields in the record. The fields in the record will always appear in the order in which they appear in the database.

An example of how this selection affects the order of the search results is available.


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