Search Parameters

This section describes many of the most important parameters for the Query action that you can use to restrict the document result set.

For more information about each of these parameters, refer to the IDOL Server Reference.


The Text parameter defines restrictions on the content of matching documents. You can specify restrictions in plain text, or by using Boolean and proximity operators.

If Text contains plain text, for example airplane leases, the IDOL Content component treats the query as a conceptual query. It tokenizes the query text, removes stop words, and stems the remaining tokens to produce a collection of terms.


These functions are language-specific. For more information about language configuration in IDOL, refer to the IDOL Server Administration Guide, and IDOL Expert.

The IDOL Content component finds documents that contains these terms, and uses statistical algorithms to quantify the relevance of the match to the original query. It assigns a relevancy score to each result document. By default, Content also uses this relevancy score to sort the results of the query.

For example:

action=query&text=the airplane leases

The IDOL Content component tokenizes this query text into the, airplane, and leases. The term the is a stop word, so Content ignores it. It stems the other two terms to produce the terms airplan and leas. Stemming allows Content to match documents that contain alternate forms of the words airplane and leases (for example, lease, leasing, and leased also stem to leas).

If Text contains Boolean or proximity operators, such as AND, or OR, Content treats the query as a Boolean query. As with conceptual queries, Content stems the search terms and ignores stop words, but documents match the query only if they satisfy the Boolean or proximity expression.


The FieldText parameter defines restrictions on the fields of documents that match the query. FieldText restrictions have the following format:



FIELDOPERATOR is the type of comparison or test to perform on the value of the specified fields, against the specified values.
Value1[,Value2,...] is a comma-separated list of field values.
FieldName1[:FieldName2:...] is a colon-separated list of field names.

There are more than 40 different field operators. The following examples demonstrate the FieldText restriction format and some of the most common field operators. For a full list of field operators, refer to the IDOL Server Reference. For more information about fields and optimizations for the FieldText queries, see Configure Fields.


By default, FieldText matches are not case sensitive. For more information about case sensitive search, refer to IDOL Expert.

The following FieldText restriction matches documents whose DOCUMENT_TYPE field contains the value record:


The following FieldText restriction matches documents whose FILETYPE field contains one of the values pdf, doc, or txt:


The following FieldText restriction matches documents whose DIR or DIRECTORY field exactly matches one of docs, archive, or work:


You can combine FieldText restrictions by using Boolean operators, such as AND, OR, and NOT, and group the restrictions by using parentheses. For example:


The IDOL Content component also includes field operators for numerical comparison. The following FieldText restriction matches documents for which SCORE1 is greater than .95 and SCORE2 is less than .85:


The following FieldText restriction matches documents that have a COUNT field, regardless of its value:


The following FieldText restriction matches documents whose BRAND field contains tech as a substring:


The following FieldText restriction matches documents whose EMOTION field contains a string that has the same stem as the word loving.


For example, if the EMOTION field has any of the values love, loving, loves, or lover, the document matches.

The following FieldText restriction matches documents whose position (stored in the LAT and LONG fields) is within a distance of 5 kilometers from the point with latitude 52.2°N and longitude 0.12° E.


The following FieldText restriction matches documents whose DUE_DATE is before the current time.



The Combine parameter contains instructions on how to treat certain groups of documents as a single result for the Query action.

The most important value for Combine is Simple. By default, when you index long documents, the IDOL Content component splits the documents into shorter sections. When Content processes a query, it can return each of these sections as a separate search result. If you set Combine to Simple, Content returns only the best matching section from each document.

It is a best practice to set Combine to Simple in every Content Query unless there is a specific reason not to.


Every document in the IDOL Content component belongs to exactly one database. The DatabaseMatch parameter specifies a comma-separated list of databases that resulting documents can come from.

By default (if DatabaseMatch is missing or empty), Content retrieves results from any database. Content applies database restrictions early in the query process, and these restrictions are generally quick, so using a DatabaseMatch can improve the performance of your query.

It is a best practice to set DatabaseMatch in every Content Query to be as restrictive as possible.


A DatabaseMatch restriction is equivalent to the following FieldText operation:


Start and MaxResults

Together, Start and MaxResults control the paging of query results.

MaxResults indicates the total maximum number of results to retrieve from the index. By default, the IDOL Content component returns the results in order of the relevance score, which indicates how well the document matches the query. You can change the order of the results by setting the Sort parameter (see Sort). Content returns the top results according to your sort, up to the value of MaxResults.

Start indicates the first result to return from the set. This option allows you to return results in pages. For example, the following query returns up to 50 results. If there are more than 50 results, it returns the best 50.


For the following query, Content finds the best 50 results that match the query, and then returns these results from the eleventh best onwards. The response therefore contains 40 results (results 11 to 50).



The Minscore parameter specifies the smallest relevancy score that a document must have to the query for the IDOL Content component to return it as a result. For example:


If this query has 10 matching documents, with scores of 100, 90, 80, 70, and so on down to 10, the query returns five results (the documents with relevancy scores of 100, 90, 80, 70, and 60).

StoreState, StateMatchID, and StateDontMatchID

The StoreState parameter allows you to save an IDOL Content component search. When you set StoreState to True, Content returns an alphanumeric token with the query. This token is a reference to the original set of search results.

You can set this token as the value of the StateMatchID parameter to restrict the results of a query to only those in the original stored search. In this way, you can use StoreState and StateMatchID together to implement 'search within a search' functionality in IDOL.

The StateDontMatchID parameter is the opposite of StateMatchID. When you set StateDontMatchID to the value of a stored state token , the query excludes any result that was a result in the original search. Effectively, StoreState and StateDontMatchID implement 'search outside a search' functionality.


The UserMetaFields parameter allows you to combine the field values in result documents into a new field (a metafield) dynamically at query time. This method allows you to create on-the-fly analytics for your documents. The format of UserMetaFields is:


The following examples demonstrate both the UserMetaFields format, and some of the existing operators. For a full list of operators, refer to the IDOL Server Reference or the IDOL Server Administration Guide.

In the following example, the TOTAL metafield for a matching document is the sum of all the PRICE fields in that document:


You can create multiple metafields with one UserMetaFields parameter. In the following example, the TOTALCOST metafield for a matching document contains the sum of all its COST fields, and the AVGREVENUE field contains the average (mean) of the REVENUE fields:


You can use metafields in the Sort and FieldText parameters of the Query where you create them. In the following example, the IDOL Content component creates a MAXPRICE metafield for each document that matches the initial query stages, which is the maximum of the PRICE fields in the document. The query returns only documents for which the MAXPRICE metafield is greater than 500.