Relational Searching

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Relational Searching

Relational searches query the entire database in real time, searching a specified field for a specified value. Relational searches are primarily used to search fields with unique values such as Bates numbers or dates, and other short fields.

Relational searching does not require an index.  You can also search on all punctuation and stopwords in the database. Because Concordance is searching the actual database data in real time without an index, relational searching can take longer than full-text searching.

Relational searches can be done on full-text fields, but it is best practice to use full-text searching for full-text fields when you can to save time.  Relational searches can run faster if you combine them with a full-text search.

Like full-text queries, relational searches are not case sensitive. You may enter your search in upper, lower, or mixed-case letters.

Relational search results are not highlighted in red. Instead, you receive a list of records containing your query results in the Table view.


Relational Search Syntax

Relational search requests are entered in a structured query format. Each query contains at least three elements:

the fixed field name to search

a relational operator

the data value or selection criteria


Relational Operators

There are ten relational operators available in Concordance.  Most of the relational operators have both a symbol and an abbreviation - they may be used interchangeably.  Be sure to include spaces between words and symbols or abbreviations so your search can be interpreted correctly.

Search for several values at once by separating them with commas. Spaces between the values are optional.

If you are searching for a value that itself has a comma, space, or operator symbol in it, then the value must be placed in quotes.

Concordance searches numbers and dates in sequential order.  It is best to enter the smaller number or date first, then the bigger number or date when specifying a range.

Relational Operators




Additional Info







not equal to




greater than




less than




greater than or equal to




less than or equal to





Only valid when searching text or paragraph fields.  If used on numeric or date fields, Concordance processes as if you entered EQ.



does not contain

Only valid when searching text or paragraph fields.  If used on numeric or date fields, Concordance processes as if you entered NE.

(no symbol)


within limits, includes stated values

two values are required to specify a range, separated by a comma

(no symbol)


outside limits, excludes stated values

two values are required to specify a range, separated by a comma


Use relational searching to search for empty or populated fields.

<fieldname> EQ “” - locates records where <fieldname> is empty

<fieldname> NE “” - locates records where <fieldname> is populated with any value


Wildcard Characters

When Concordance reads a relational search, it views each individual character.  Individual or multiple characters can be masked using wildcard characters in order to accept zero or more characters in that position.

Only the question mark wildcard can be used in dates.  For relational date searches, be sure to include the slashes when constructing the date string based on the date format for the field you are searching.

Wildcard Characters



Query Example


* (asterisk)

masks multiple characters (zero or more) at the beginning or end of a word

TEXT05 = woman*

all records containing words starting with "woman" in the TEXT05 field (including "woman", "womanhood", "womankind", etc.)

? (question mark)

masks a single character

TEXT05 = ?og

all records containing three letter words ending in "og" in the TEXT05 field (for example: "dog", "log", "fog", etc.)




Sample Searches



ISBN = 0-477-01-482-8

documents that have "0-477-01482-8" in their ISBN field

milk and DATE >= 4/22/1990

first Concordance finds documents that have the term "milk",  then from that result set - any documents whose DATE field is greater than or equal to "4/22/1990"

AREACODE = 513, 719

documents that have either "513" or "719" in their AREACODE field

OCR CO side

documents that have the characters "side" within their OCR field - even within a word (for example the words "inside", "outside", "considered", "presides", and others)

CREATIONDATE WL 6/10/2019, 6/15/2019

documents that have their CREATIONDATE field greater than or equal to "6/10/2019" AND less than or equal to "6/15/2019"

CREATIONDATE OL 2/12/2019, 6/11/2019

documents with a CREATIONDATE prior to 2/12/2019 or after 6/11/2019

CREATIONDATE = ??/??/2012

documents with a CREATIONDATE in the year 2012 - with any day and month

TEXT03 = "$5,000"

documents with the TEXT03 field containing the string $5,000