The command line of refdbc works like that of many other sophisticated interactive command-line tools. If you are used to graphical user interfaces, the following hints might help to get you started:
If you type something wrong and notice this only half a line later, you don't have to erase everything back to the error: instead, you can move the cursor back, fix the error, and continue editing.
If you type the first few characters of a command, like "sel", and then hit the tab key, refdbc will attempt to complete this command. In this case you'll get "selectdb" as this is the only command starting with "sel". If the specified characters are ambiguous, refdbc will complete as far as possible. If you then hit tab a second time, it will display all available possibilities, and you can enter more characters until the completion is unambiguous. If you type an argument after the command name and try the tab completion with that, refdb will attempt to complete a filename relative to the current working directory. You can use this feature to conveniently select input files for commands that read input from files. E.g. if you type "addref ~/refs/n" and then hit tab, refdbc might expand this to "addref ~/refs/new.ris" if such a file exists.
If you want to run a previous command again or reuse it with a slight modification, you can either scroll backwards through your previous commands with the up key or you can start a search for a particular command with the Ctrl-r keystroke (hold down the Ctrl key and then press r). You'd then type in the first few characters of the command you're looking for and refdbc displays the first match. Press Ctrl-r again to jump to the next match or type additional characters as required. Once you see the command you're looking for, hit enter to run this command again or use the arrow keys to edit the command.
This command history is refdbc's way to implement the incremental search that you might know from other bibliographic software. However the command history is way more versatile as you are not limited to adding another restriction to the end of the list or removing the last restriction. Instead you can modify the query as you see fit.