Introduction to wildcard and truncation

Labregister facilitates finding Items by entering Attribute values (ID, name or any other) in the search text field in header of the Item table screen, where it says "Search for an object or attribute". A special feature of the name Attribute is that the use of wildcards and truncation is an option as detailed below. It is also possible to search the automatically generated Attribute "Category" for whole words if Category names comprise several words. For example, if you search for culture medium, then bacterial culture medium and fungal culture medium will be found in case those actually exist.

  • Wildcard is referring to special characters standing for any other characters. A question mark is standing for just one other character. It is useful, if you are e.g. looking for both construction and constriction or you are not sure which is correct. So you simply look for constr?ction and both cases will be found. An asterisk is standing for several other characters. This is useful if you are unsure about an onset or ending of part of an expression within a more complex expression. Let us say you don't know whether it was downloadable files or downloading files an article was about, then you enter download* files and both will be found. To give an example for onset, let's say you are looking for either reagent infusion or reagent defusion, then you simply enter reagent *fusion and both will be found. If you are looking for a simple expression that you want expanded on either side, you can use the following function.
  • Truncation is practically an automated wildcard application. If you enter a string that will be part of what you are looking for, it will be treated as if an asterisk had been placed before and after it. Hence, everything will be found containing it. If you are looking for everything containing documentation, you will simply enter so and find useful documentation and documentation on Labregister and all the documentation you can read. These are all matches.
  • Whenever using wildcards or truncation you may get more results than you have bargained for, because cases may match you have not been thinking of. And you may also find less, because the string you were certain of contains a typo. And always remember: Search is about endurance, not good or bad luck.


Note: If you want ? or * to be part of the search request and not treated as wildcards, you need to mask them with a preceding backslash like so: Can I search for \* also\?



Labregister Item Search

To illustrate the search options, I am taking part of the name of a group of Items and entering it into the search field. If I have not selected a Category before, I am getting all the hits displayed in a table view below. And on the left in the Category menu I am getting the information on how the hits are distributed among the Categories, so that I can also filter by Category by selecting one and then getting a filtered view of the respective hits. I am choosing the Category with the highest number of hits as displayed in brackets next to the Category name.

You can always click on "All items" in the Category menu to return to seeing all hits across all Categories.


Tip: You can also search by creation date by making use of the Item ID: For example, if you use LR-20210617 as search expression, you will get all items created on 17.06.2021 displayed below, because the Item ID contains the creation date.