IUG 2009 – Using Regular Expressions in Create Lists

Posted: May 18, 2009 in conferences, Innovative Interfaces, Innovative Users Group, integrated library system, IUG, iug 2009
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Richard Jackson, Huntington Library


This was a great session, but you have stay tuned in so you don’t miss anything. No wonder this guy won an award today! Richard has a number of documents already available on the conference website. For those who don’t have access to the conference website, here is a link to an older version of his presentation handout:


Regular expressions in Create Lists – Revised 2007


I’ve jotted down a few tidbits to help myself remember certain things, but I really recommend tracking down Richard’s current handouts. He provides a lot of great examples as well as some fairly detailed explanations of how to use this tool.


A text processing tool – almost a miniature programming language.


Allow "fuzzier" matching, or finding records with particular patterns of data rather than specific values.


Literal characters – normal characters that represent themselves in the match


Metacharacters – characters that perform some function in the regular expression


Creates Lists does not search data in the way it is displayed; it searches data in the way that it’s stored.

Create Lists is case-insensitive


If you want to use a hyphen as a member of the character class, it has to be listed first, for example: [-,.]


A character class is a single character – it is any one of the characters listed inside the brackets.


Use the ^ character to negate character classes.


^ represents the beginning of the field.

$ represents the end of the field.


The backslash indicates that the following character should be treated as a literal.


When searching for "bad codes" if the hyphen is a valid code, be sure to list it first (after "^") in the negated character class: Ex. [^-a-fnrz123567]


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