Running relational searches

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Running relational searches

Relational searches query the entire database in real time. This search is based on a specified field for a specified value, scanning every record in the database (usually only one field). Relational searches are primarily used to search unique value fields, Bates numbers, dates, fixed-length text fields, and other short fields.

Relational searching does not require an indexed database to search current data. Unlike full-text searching, you can search on all punctuation and stopwords in the database. Because Concordance Desktop is searching the actual database data in real time, and not a dictionary or 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 search results are not highlighted in red. Instead, you receive a list of records containing your query results in the Table view. It is best to try initial queries in a full-text search before conducting a relational search to ensure you are using the dictionary when you can.

Field Groups are not supported in relational searching. Use full text searching for Field Groups.


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

field name OPERATOR data value

The fixed field name to search

A relational operator

The selection criteria


ISBM = 0-477-01-482-8

The sample query searches the ISBN field in every record in the entire database for a value equal to 0-477-01482-8. Relational searches can run faster if you combine them with a full-text search:

wonder wheels and date <= 4/25/1994

In this case, the fixed fields are examined only in the documents located by the full-text portion of the query. The result line for the date query would apply only to the documents that contain wonder wheels. It is not an indication of all possible matching dates in the database.

Concordance Desktop provides ten relational operators for relational searches. Like full-text queries, relational searches are not case sensitive. You may enter your search in upper, lower, or mixed-case letters. You can search for a subset of characters in a field, for a partial match of characters, or for an exact match.

Concordance Desktop allows you to use wildcard characters in fixed fields. You can use a wildcard to mask single characters (?), or to mask the remainder of a word (*). The masking capability is not available when selecting on numeric fixed-length fields.

Searching for Multiple Values

Search for several values at once by separating them with commas. Spaces between the values are optional. If you are searching for a value, which itself has a comma in it, then the value must be placed in quotes.

Example: AREACODE = 213, 818, 310, 714

Relational Operators

There are ten relational operators available in Concordance Desktop. These operators compare your search criteria with the contents of the fixed field specified in your query. Some of the relational operators have a symbolic equivalent, such as eq and =, both of which mean equal to. These may be used interchangeably and are listed below. When performing a relational search you want to type the field first, then the data value you are searching.

Relational Search Format

field name OPERATOR data value









Not equal to



Greater than



Less than



Greater than or equal to



Less than or equal to






Does not contain

(no symbol)


Within limits, includes stated values

(no symbol)


Outside limits, excludes stated values

Typing spaces between words or symbols is important to separate the word you are searching for from the operator symbols or letters (CO, WL, GT, etc.), otherwise the search won’t work. For example, type spaces where you see the underscore: milk_NC_coffee.

The CO and NC operators are only valid when searching text or paragraph fields. If used on numeric or date fields, Concordance Desktop processes the request as if you had entered EQ or NE respectively. A search for OCR CO milk locates words like unmilked and milking because it includes the four characters in milk and anything before or after it.

The WL and OL operators search for ranges, within limits and outside of limits. These operators require two criteria to specify the range. The following search would locate any record with a DUEDATE field greater than or equal to January 1, 1993 and less than or equal to March 15, 1995.


DUEDATE WL 1/1/1993, 3/15/1995

If you are searching for a value that has operators, then the value must be placed in quotes. For example: OCR1 CO “$5,000”


doctitle = untitled

doctitle EQ untitled

Both of the relational operators produce the same search results

If you need to find a specific record and know the Bates number, run a relational search.

But first check your dictionary to see if they are included by your administrator. If numbers are included, you can skip relational searches for them and run a full-text search instead.


docdate WL 10/01/1983,12/31/1984

This query finds all documents from October 1, 1983 though December 31, 1984.

Use the date format that is standard for each database.


pages WL 5,10

This query finds all documents that are five to 10 pages in length. Four-page documents or 11-page documents are not included in the search results.

Concordance Desktop searches numbers and dates in sequential order, so it’s best to train yourself to enter them in that order: smaller number first, then bigger number (5,10), and earlier date, then later date (10/01/1980,12/31/1983).

Wildcard Characters - Relational

When Concordance Desktop reads a relational search, it views each individual character. The root of the search criteria can be masked (*) or individual characters can be masked (?) using the wildcard characters. For relational date searches, you must replace each digit in a date query with a wildcard character while using slashes based on the existing date format for your database.


8 and date eq 01/??/1986

All documents identified in query eight with any date in January 1986 are retrieved.


organization co wom?n*

The query selects documents that contain the words WOMAN, WOMEN, WOMANHOOD, etc., in the organization field.




Asterisks (*) replace a single text character at the end only

BEGNO = 0001*

Locates all Bates numbers that begin with 0001

Question mark (?) replaces a single character

DOCDATE = ??/??/1983

Locate all records in 1983

Quotation marks (“) are required for searching operators

OCR1 CO “$5,000”

Locates all records containing $5,000 in addition to $5,000,000 because of the CO operator

Quotes in Relational Searching

All spaces in a relational search string are automatically trimmed from the search. If you need to perform a relational search for an entry with spaces or any special characters, enclose the criteria in quotes. The text must be quoted if the criteria itself has spaces or commas in it. Below is a fixed field search with spaces and special characters.



Remember that Concordance Desktop inserts the default operator wherever it finds a space. So, without the quotes, Concordance Desktop would interpret the above query as STATUS = PAID ADJ STATUS?, and it would locate zero records.