Thursday, May 17, 2007

IUG 2007 – Playing with matches: Using regular expressions in Create Lists

Richard V. Jackson of Huntington Libraries made this presentation.

Create lists is a function of Millennium that allows library staff to automate the creation of groups of bibliographic records. It’s used for a huge variety of functions, for instance, listing newly acquired materials, listing journals that serve a specific discipline, listing records that are in need of revision of some kind. ‘Matches’ is one way, a fairly sophisticated and seldom used, means of including records that describe materials with particular characteristics and excluding others.

‘Matches’ uses what are called ‘regular expressions’ which are combination of literal characters and meta-characters (characters that tell the system what to do, e.g. directing Millennium to look for a single letter in a particular field only if it is the last character in that field would involve telling Millennium what you are looking for, the single letter, and also telling it to limit the results to only those records where the letter occurs at the very end of the field).

Jackson reviewed and defined the function of all of the meta-characters using a nice variety of examples.

This particular search function significantly broadens Millennium Create Lists’ capability for sophisticated searching that I’ll will find tremendously useful in what I do now and what my library can do in the future, not least of which is building creative RSS feeds.

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