DBT (Data Base Testuale "Textual Database")

The search engine for the
Letteratura Italiana Zanichelli.


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


Similar to the searching and browsing program used by the Archivio Italiano resources, the DBT (Data Base Testuale "Textual Database") operates in DOS mode and allows you access in a variety of ways to a large amount literary content and analytical tools that help in mastering it. This version 2.0 of the program boasts a record increase of 138 works in comparison to the 1993 release. Including pieces ranging from the Laudes creaturarum of Francesco d'Assisi (12th century) to more recent 20th-century books, the literary collection from the Zanichelli stands at 500 works. As with the search engine for the Archivio Italiano, the DBT here allows you to produce the following for a selected text or a number thereof: Return to Table of Contents

Finding and Starting DBT:

From the START button, go to ELECTRONIC TEXTS. The Letteratura Italiana Zanichelli 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 with version and copyright information will pop up and stay on the screen until you click OK. Replacing it, another window will follow prompting you to choose either starting immediately with searching and browsing the database (Interrogazione Archivio) or starting with the other programs (Programmi vari) or exiting the database (Fine Lavoro - Uscita a DOS):

Below, we will describe the procedure for simply searching and browsing the database. The other programs available under Programi Vari are shown in the image below. No details will be provided on their features that require a bit of knowledge about linguistics and being comfortable with the language. The image below shows the additional options available for specialized users:

The click of the mouse is functional in this DOS program alongside the shortcut keys indicated in menus.

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Searching for an entry:

If you opt for the first possibility from the selection window described above (that is querying the database directly), you will see the following window:

Under (Interrogazione Corpus) on the top menu, you can obtain the 'About' information relating to both the LIZ collection and the DBT system and you can view the help file (Guida) or exit the system (Uscita). The other item on the top menu (Selezione) allows you to choose a text or a number of texts based on specific creteria described in the illustration in the following screen shot:

Whatever criterion you choose to adopt (except for singoli Testi - see below), you will end up with a window similar to the one below. You can click on the entry you wish to consult and click on the button Selezione - an asterisk will appear next to the entry - then click (OK) or repeat the same steps to add more entries to your selection. You can also reset your choices by clicking on Repristina or cancel the selection process altogether (Annulla).

Alternatively if you choose singoli Testi, you can go down directly to the list and select the texts you like one by one. A check mark will appear to the left of the title indicating that it has been added to your target group. de-selecting can be done by clicking again on the title so that the check mark disappears. You may also bypass the previous steps and include the whole database (the default setting).

The next step will be to go to the bottom menu which remains invariable during the selection process and changes only when you start the actual search window. The commands available on the bottom menu are explained below:

Once your selection is finalized and you click on Interroga, you will see a small window requesting confirmation of your choice(s). Click OK to that and you will start the actual search window which looks as follow:

Type your search word in the field next tot he word Parola: and click on OK. You can repeat this operation by going to RICERCA --> PAROLA from the top menu. Your search index will look like this:

To the right of each entry in this index you will see two numbers. The one on the left is the number of occurrences of that word in the text under consideration, while the other number between parenthesis is a reminder of the serial number of the text being queried.

Double-clicking on any of the items in the search index (let's choose the word donna for this example) will produce another window that contains a result index:

As yon see above, your search item is displayed in yellow surrounded by a brief amount of context with the exact location of each hit in bright blue. You may view extended context for each hit or browse the complete text in which it occurs by clicking on the line containing the hit of interest to you. A new window will appear with the title of the text and the serial number of the search hit displayed on the top bar.

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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 displayed in the search index window, you will be able to combine these words using logical operators (AND, OR, NOT.. etc) which are available from FAMIGLIE -> DIFINIZIONE. 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-occurrence and, to define the distance between them in the same text. If you decide to expand your search range to include the whole corpus to be queried using the same parameters (your defined search family), you can do so by choosing CERCA IN CORPUS, again under FAMIGLIE.

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 bibliographical table that appears when the DBT is started (Using the Selezione --> singoli Testi path from the top menu. Next, cancel the search box which will pop up later by clicking on ANNULLA. Then you can proceed from the menu bar: RICERCA -> LETTURA TESTO "read text"..

To move to a text other than the one at hand for purposes of browsing, you can exit the current display by going to LIZ --> Uscita to return to the entrance screen. There you re-start the selection process and choose another text.

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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 exporting in a format that is legible, yet not very reader-friendly when opened in your typical word-processing program such as MS WORD or WORDPERFECT. It can be done by choosing SalvaFinestra "save window" [F4] when available on the bottom bar, or by choosing Salva Schermo "save screen". The saved files are assigned a number by the program (of which you will be informed in a small window). You need to write down the number of the file you save and look for it later, after you finish your work with the DBT completely in the same directory where the program is located. However, it is also possible to copy the desired text and paste it into a word processing document directly (which is a useful tactic when you wish to have one extended file for all your search hits rather that multiple separate ones). This can be done via the DOS command menu which is located at the top-left corner of your program window (with the DOS logo on it). The pull-down menu as shown below allows you to start marking the text you need to copy (similar to the SELECT function in Windows applications) and then copy it in order to paste into your favorite application.

Once you are finished with the database you can exit by looking for the word Uscita "exit" under the LIZ menu entry.

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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.
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