Find and view references

The refdbc command getref is your friend to find and display references. The query language that is used to retrieve specific references from the database is explained in detail elsewhere. This section offers a few additional hints.

The general idea of the getref command is that you specify what you want and you get back a chunk of text. You can select the format of this chunk (e.g. screen, HTML, or DocBook output) and you can specify what you want to do with this chunk. A suitable strategy for most searches works as follows:

refdbc has a uniquely simple way to rerun and modify queries. Many reference database allow you to modify previous queries only by adding new restrictions to the end or removing restrictions from the end of a previous query. refdbc is more flexible. In the interactive mode, refdbc keeps its own history of commands. You can use the up key or the Ctrl-p combo to recall the previous query. You can press these keys repeatedly to go further back in the history. Use Ctrl-r to incrementally search for a previous query by entering a short string. Adding more characters will make the search more specific. Pressing Ctrl-r repeatedly after entering some search string will display other matches further back in the history.

In the batch-mode, you can use the history feature of your shell. In either case you can modify, extend, or restrict any previous query as you see fit.