DBT (Data Base Testuale "Textual Database")

The search engine for the
Archivio Italiano.


  1. Introduction
  2. Finding and Starting DBT
  3. Searching for an entry
  4. Conducting Advanced Searches
  5. Browsing the collection
  6. Printing and saving


Based on the most accredited print editions within the Italian cultural tradition, the Archivio Italiano offers a valuable tool for philological, historical and literary research. Each volume in this electronic archive was entrusted to an expert in the field for the selection of titles and editions. Currently, LETRS owns and operates four volumes:

As a user-friendly feature, all the volumes have been prepared to be searchable and browsable through a common interface or search engine referred to henceforth as the DBT (Data Base Testuale "Textual Database"). This engine allows you to generate the following instantly for any text under consideration:

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Finding and Starting DBT:

From the START button, go to ELECTRONIC TEXTS. The Archivio Italiano collection is listed under Italian Resources. Select the specific database that you wish to use. Make sure that the relevant CD-ROM is in the appropriate drive.

A welcoming window will pop up and stay on the screen for a few moments. Replacing it, the Selection window will follow. The appearance of the selection window may vary slightly depending on the particular database you are using. The image below however describes the main functions that this window performs before you can actually enter your searches:

As you can see above, a search can be very broad (across the archive) or can be limited according to the author, century or pattern of search desired. The latter designation (pattern) probably requires further explanation: this option basically allows you to create your own list of authors to be searched repeatedly for expressions, phrases...etc. You may wish, for instance to search for references to elements of nature among the Florentine poets. You can simply select all the poets you wish to have included in the list, then click the button MODELLI. Doing so would invoke the following window:

Clicking the top button in the window displayed above opens a dialogue box where you can assign a name to your list and save it as a new pattern. You can always come back to this MODELLI window (by clicking on the button MODELLI in the selection frame) to do any of the other tasks listed on the three buttons that follow. You can load a saved pattern, modify it or delete it all together.

Once you have made you choice(s) regarding the range of your search, you are ready to move on to the next step.

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Searching for an entry:

Now that you have defined the range of your search, you will be asked to confirm it. A new window will appear (the Search window) with a search-entry box in the middle of it. However, if you choose only one text from the DBT selection window, you will see first an intermidiary window from which you will need to click on the top button INTERROGAZIONE SINGOLO TESTO "query a single text". The other options on this window are (from top to bottom): Create and Index and Statistics sheet, Perform a sequencial search, Generate a concordance.

Otherwise, your search window will look similar to what you see in the image below. English translations are provided for the menu items along with a brief description of some of the important functions available from the sub-menus under each item. If for some reason, the search-entry box does not appear automatically at the start of the window, you can simply click on the icon which is second from the right with an image of a lens inside it. Alternatively, you can also go to the menu item RICERCA and choose PAROLA from the sub-menu:

Enter your query (a word only) in the box and click on OK. The program will return a window with one or more form(s) of the word entered. Select the appropriate form and double-click on it. A new window will appear to keep track of the selected form as well as any other words you enter later (you can always invoke the search-entry box and repeat the procedure to add more queries to your word-list). Clicking on the selected form will show its ocurrences only within the current text (DBT treats the first text it comes across as the 'current' one). You can always tell what the current text is by looking at the top of the border bar of the search window. You can alternate the display of the search hits between those in the 'current' text and those in the whole corpus by clicking on the two icons with a capital T, and a capital C, respectively. The icon to the left of these two (with colorful small books) allows you to open a new window in which you can specify a different text as 'current'. The image below illustrates some fo the functions performed by the icon buttons. Note that not all of these buttons are available all the time:

Some of the functions available under the menu items (from left to right) are explained below:

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Conducting advanced searches:

The DBT program allows you to refine your searches, expand or narrow them in several ways. We will describe here some of the useful and important ones. Once you have searched for a specific word, you can repeat the same step exactly for another word and a third, and so on and so forth. When you have the number of words you need, you will be able to combine these words using logical operators (AND, OR, NOT.. etc) which are available from FAMIGLIE -> FAMIGLIE HARD. The window that appears for this kind of search allows you to highlight the desired words from the list of search enquires; it will also allow you to specify whether you would like to search for the two words or more in a co-ocurrence and, to define the distance between them in the same text.

If the number of your search hits is too large or you wish to make it more specific, you can use the functions available under OPZIONI. The search hits could be restricted to a specific work or author, a specific character or a choice between verse and prose.

In instances where you are not sure about the exact spelling or form of the word you are searching for, you can use the wild card symbols or the fuzzy match operators. Both of those sets are described briefly below with examples:

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Browsing the collection:

For looking at the full text of a book, a poem, a chapter or any literary unit directly (if no specific search is needed), you can start by selecting the author and/or work from the Selection window that appears when the DBT is started. Then cancel the search box which will pop up later by clicking on ANNULLA. Next you can either click on the icon with the image of reading glasses to browse the text at hand or you can alternatively proceed from the menu bar: RICERCA -> LETTURA TESTO.
To move to a text other than the one at hand for purposes of browsing, you can click on the icon which contains images of small, colorful books (third from left).

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Printing and saving:

Unfortunately, the DBT does not allow for printing out the full text of any of the contents of its database. Saving of results is also limited to a format readable by the program only. The search results can be printed out however. It is also possible to copy the desired text and paste it into a wordprocessing document. The last two icons on the right of the search window are for printing and saving the active window. You can also pull down the sub-menu from FILE and choose either SALVA FINESTRE (to save) or STAMPA FINESTRE (to print).
Under FILE, you can also choose ESCI "Exit" when finished with your work. If searches were done, you will be asked for confirmation dn given the option of canceling your exit, selecting a different text from the database or exiting the database completely.

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Last Updated: 2/3/2000
URL: http://www.indiana.edu/~letrs/index.html
Comments: Library Electronic Text Resource Service / LETRS@indiana.edu.
Indiana University