Report:Qweb/Search Interface/The Command Line Interface
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The Command Line Interface
The command line interface in Qweb is the only method of searching and displaying records. Some graphical interface assists are available through sidebars the command line interface, such as shortcuts to file access, exporting, and preference setting among other quick links.
In addition to the session start function, the Qweb main menu provides links to fact sheet documentation, offline tools such as scripts, sessions, patent copies and workfiles, and links to other Questel services.
Once a session is started, the command line interface is displayed to the user. The command line entry field and the text display take up much of the web page display with a variety of other complementary features around the border.
The Assists menu on the left hand side serves as a shortcut system for common command line inputs such as:
- loading a file
- displaying results
- conducting statistical analysis
- stopping or starting a session
- saving a session
On the upper portion of the web page, the user will find quick links for:
- accessing the main menu
- a format for printing
- ordering a selected original
- adding to a workfile
- exporting a selected document
- selecting a script
The bottom left portion of the page houses a reminder of the current user ID, subaccount, and time connected.
A wide variety of search syntax and operators can be used within Qweb. For further information on the commands available, see the Search Syntax section. For further information on viewing search results and record displays within the command line interface, see the Viewing Results section.
The added graphical interface for the assistants and quick links gives users quick access to common commands, document management, and session related information. The user can also use checkboxes next to displayed records to further manipulate that record, such as adding it to a workfile or ordering the original document. These features are welcome, additions to the traditional command line interface, but they ultimately cannot approximate the convenience available from some other web-based search products. Thankfully, the added graphical interface does not interface with the command line display.
The command line interface itself is intimidating and confusing for a novice but adept and feature-rich for a search profession with considerable experience. This is a traditional problem for command line based search interfaces and also applies to many of Qweb’s competitors, such as Dialog Classic and STN. This problem can be alleviated to a degree in systems (such as PatAnalyst or Questel’s own QPAT)that offer features which translate a structured search form entry into the command line interface. Such a feature helps the user understand the syntax of the command line and serve as a training tool, but Qweb does not have this feature, choosing to remain solely focused on advanced command line searching.