A READER ASKS: Keyword Search Integration

From Dwayne Wright PMP
Certified FileMaker Developer

WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright
YOUTUBE: FileMakerThoughts

We need an effective way to apply categories and keywords to our records. One strategy we have used in the past includes entering several keywords from a small preselected list, into a single field separated by commas. These are searchable, but due to the restricted nature of the list, often don’t adequately describe the document. Another strategy has been to create multiple lists of categorized checkboxes. This seemed to work well for a small database restricted to similar documents used for a single project, although one had to click through several tabs of checkboxes in order to search for specific keywords.  

Our question is, have you seen any keywording strategies implemented that seemed to be particularly effective, especially for a database of rather diverse records?  

There is a way to blend the two different strategies into one workflow. Say we have both strategies employed. There is a field for free form keyword search entry and then keyword checkbox fields at particular areas of data entry. These keyword boxes would help setup a consistent keyword list for the records. Under the hood, I could use a calculation field that concatenates the data from the free form area and all the checkboxes. We can create a keyword search box, that uses the "under the hood" concatenated calculation. So the user would only employ a search from one area but it would integrate results from all keyword entry areas.

If we wanted to elaborate this design further, we could even integrate an "advanced" keyword search tab. This would allow you to select or deselect which keywords checkbox fields you might not want to use in a particular search, plus other advanced search options.