Recollector User’s Guide


Subsetting the Collection


Normally Recollector displays, in its List View and in the Image Gallery, all the records in your collection.  However, if you wish to look at only a specific part of your collection – for example, all items acquired before 1990 – you can choose to restrict the display to just a subset of the full collection.  The collection window and all its functions behave the same when a subset is active as they do when the full collection is displayed; the only difference is that the only records shown are those which meet the criteria defined for the subset.


Recollector provides two kinds of subsetting:


·         Search subsetting – This simple kind of subsetting is set up from Find on the Search menu, when viewing the List View or the Image Gallery.  It can be used to quickly reduce the set of displayed items to just those in which a particular text (usually a word or phrase) is found, either in a particular field or across all fields. This kind of subsetting is temporary: You set it up within a session, but it is not remembered.  The next time you run Recollector you need to use Search > Find again to set up the same search subset.

·         Full subsetting – This kind of subsetting is more elaborate than search subsetting. With full subsetting you can define more complicated inclusion criteria. These kinds of subsets are not temporary; they are retained as part of your collection, and do not need to be redefined each time you run Recollector.


Search subsetting and full subsetting are independent capabilities. You can use both at the same time, where, for example, a full subset would reduce the set of displayed items based on the subset’s criteria, and an additional search subset would further reduce the set of displayed rows to just those that include a particular search text.


This chapter describes both search subsets and full subsets.


Search subsets


A search subset reduces the set of displayed items to just those that include a specific text (usually a word or phrase). You must be in the List View or the Image Gallery to set up a search subset. Choose Find from the Search menu to set up a search subset:



Enter the text that needs to be found in a record in order to qualify for inclusion in the search subset. Also select which field the text must be found in.  This can be Any field, Any of the fields in the list display, or a specified single field.  In the example shown here, a record will be included in the search subset if “Paris” is found anywhere in the record. Since the Match Upper/Lower Case checkbox is turned off, a record will be included if it includes “paris”, “Paris”, “PARIS”, etc.  In addition, matching does not need to exactly match a full word. So if the word “Parisian” occurred in a record, it, too, would be included in the subset.


Choose the second radiobutton (Create a temporary ‘search subset’ with just the matching records) and click OK.  Immediately the list will be reduced to just those records that meet the specified criteria. The fact that a search subset is active is shown by a note in the lower right corner of the collection window:



A search subset stays in effect until you do one of the following:


·         Turn of search subsetting by choosing Clear search subset from the Search menu.

·         Choose Show full collection (no subsetting) from the Subset menu.

·         Select a different criteria for the search subset by using the Find dialog invoked from the Search menu.


Full subsetting


The full subsetting capability of Recollector lets you define a set of conditions that must be met for a record to be included in the subset. You can define multiple such subsets for a collection. You give each subset a name, and, once defined, you can switch to any particular subset by choosing its name from the Subset menu.  Subset definitions are saved as part of your collection, so the next time you run the program, any subsets that you defined previously are available to be selected from the Subset menu.


To define a new subset, or to modify or delete an existing subset, pick Manage Subsets from the Subset menu. The following dialog box will be displayed:



The dialog box shown above, mostly empty, is what you will see before any subsets have been defined.  If any subsets have been defined for the collection, then the dialog will be filled in, reflecting the definition of one of the existing subsets. You can use the drop-down list to switch the display to show the definition of a different subset.  Here is an example of what the dialog box looks like when one or more subsets have been defined:



To create a new subset, click on the Create New Subset button. This will bring up the following dialog box:



Enter a name for the new subset in the Subset name field.  The name you specify will show up on the dropdown menu that appears when you click the Select a Subset sub-menu on the Subset menu of the collection viewer window.  If you want, you can also create a hierarchy of sub-menus for your subsets.  This is useful if you have a large number of subsets, since it lets you group the subsets into multiple sub-categories, so that any single dropdown menu will have only a reasonably small number of choices displayed.  To specify that a subset should appear on a nested sub-menu, precede the subset name by a sub-menu name and a colon.  For example, the following subset name:




would cause there to be a Countries sub-menu under the Select a Subset menu, and then an England menu item on the Countries sub-menu.  If you subsequently defined another subset, with the name Countries:France, the France menu item would join the England menu item on the Countries sub-menu.


This kind of sub-menu hierarchy can be extended to additional levels by including additional colon-separated components as part of the subset name.  So, for example, if you added a subset with the following name:




a Scandinavia sub-menu would be added to the Countries sub-menu, and the Norway menu item would be placed on the Scandinavia sub-menu.  You do not need to separately create the different levels of such multi-level menu hierarchies.  When the program encounters such a multi-level menu name, with multiple, colon-separated components, it creates whatever intermediate sub-menus are necessary to provide the full menu hierarchy.


Note: Whitespace is ignored around the colons in these multi-level subset names.  So Countries:England and Countries : England are considered the same.  The program automatically converts the typed-in name to a standard (no whitespace) form.


After the subset name has been entered, specify the criteria that have to be met for a record to be included as part of this subset.


There are four kinds of criteria:


·         Criteria for text fields (applies to short text, one-line text, multi-line text and image/audio/video fields) – A text field condition specifies whether the text field contains, does not contain, is (fully matches), is not, begins with, or does not begin with the specified text. (Case does not matter; a lower-case word “chart” will match “Chart”, “CHART”, etc.)

·         Criteria for numeric fields (currency, dimension or number fields) – A number condition specifies whether the field contains a value that is less than, equal to, or greater than a specified value.

·         Criteria for the ID # field. – The ID # field is treated the same as a text field, except it also allows you to specify two numeric conditions, less than and greater than. Since ID # fields are usually numbers, the numeric conditions let you specify conditions like “ID # is greater than 200”.  If an ID # value begins with a number and is followed by non-numeric characters (for example: “21B”), the numeric leading part (21, in this example) will be used when deciding whether the numeric condition is met.  If an ID # value is completely non-numeric, or begins with non-numeric characters (e.g. “ABC-22”), a numeric condition for including records in a subset will always be treated as false (excluding the record).

·         Criteria for date fields – A date condition specifies whether the field contains a date that is before, in, or after a specifed date. (Dates can be single years, or fully specified dates, e.g., “25-Feb-2007”). The choice of “in” is intended primarily for specifying single years. For example, if you want to include in the subset all items that you acquired in 2002, you could specify that the “Date acquired” field be “in” 2002. This will pick up all records with a 2002 year in the “Date acquired” field, regardless of whether they also include month and day data.


Alternatively, a condition can specify whether a given field is empty or is not empty. This can be useful if you want to define a subset based on whether data is missing for a particular field.


To define a new condition:



If you have multiple conditions, they can be connected by “AND” or by “OR” operators. Adjacent AND conditions must all be met for a record to be selected for inclusion. An OR operator means that if the prior condition (or group of AND-connected conditions) is not satisfied, then the subsequent condition (or group of AND-connected conditions) will be tried.  Following is an example of a filled-in dialog box showing two conditions connected with an AND operator:



This specification will cause the subset to include all 17th-century items.


Note: If you have specified a condition using “is” or “is not” for the relationship, then you can specify multiple comparison values by including the desired values separated by a vertical bar [|] character.  The following image shows a definition which specifies two values (Fine and Excellent) for a field named Quality.  Any record with a value for Quality of either Fine or Excellent would meet this condition.



To modify a line of the subset specification, select it in the list, edit the terms of the condition at the top, and then click the Modify Line button.


To remove a specific condition from the subset specification, click the condition in the list and click the Remove from Subset button.


Click the Clear entire Subset button to get rid of all the lines in the subset specification.


Filling in values when you use a subset


Normally you specify the comparison values for subset conditions when you define the subset.  However, Recollector lets you defer specifying a value until the moment when you choose to use a subset.  If you specify a question mark (‘?’) as a comparison value in a subset condition, then when you switch to using that subset the program will prompt you for the value you want to use.  This allows you to use the subset for a variety of different conditions, without having to modify the subset definition. You can specify up to four conditions with ‘?’ values in a subset definition.


Following is an example of using this “fill-in later” capability.  Notice that the subset definition uses three conditions, and for two of these a ‘?’ character is supplied as the comparison value:



When you select this France, for a date range subset from the Select a Subset menu, Recollector will prompt you to fill in the values for the two conditions that have ‘?’ values in the subset definition:



If you fill in the two text boxes with 1800 and 1850, then the subset will be defined as if those values had been specified when you originally created the subset definition.  The next time you choose to use this subset (by selecting it from the Select a Subset menu), in the same session, the prompting dialog will initially display the values previously chosen:



You can modify one or both values to cause the subset to include a different date range.


If you choose to use a subset when generating a printed report or when generating a web site, and the subset is one that uses ‘?’ values, you will be prompted for the values to use just before the report or web site is generated.


Selecting a subset


Use the Select a Subset sub-menu on the Subset menu to switch to any of the subsets you have defined. When you click on Select a Subset a sub-menu will appear showing the names of all the available subsets. Click on the desired subset.


To turn off subsetting, choose Show Full Collection (no subsetting) from the Subset menu.  This will return the collection window to a display of all the records in your collection.  Turning off subsetting will also terminate any search subset, if one was in effect. No subset definitions will be lost when you turn off subsetting; you can switch back to using a subset at any time by again selecting a subset from the menu.


If your collection has more than one subset defined, then when a subset is currently in effect you will see two additional buttons at the top of the collection window to the left of the Edit button: Previous Subset and Next Subset.  You can use these buttons to step through your subsets, rather than have to return to the Subset > Select a Subset menu to move to another subset.  The order in which subsets are stepped through is the same order in which they are shown on the Select a Subset menu, which is basically alphabetical order by subset name.


Choose Display Subset Definition from the Subset menu to bring up a window showing the subset criteria currently in effect. If no subset is currently active, this will be reported.


Linking a field profile to a subset:


Normally switching to a subset does not change the set of fields displayed in the List View.  However, if you wish to customize the List View fields for a particular subset, you can do this by creating a Field Profile whose name is Subset: subset_name where subset_name is the name of the associated subset.  So, for example, if you created a subset named large marbles, then if there is a field profile named Subset: large marbles, that profile will be immediately applied to the List View when you switch to the large marbles subset.  (Case is ignored when evaluating the profile name, and adding a space - for readability - after the colon is optional.  So, for example, a profile named SUBSET:Large Marbles would also be recognized as a match for the large marbles subset.)


If you define a field profile whose name is Subset: none then that profile will be applied automatically to the List View when you switch from a subset to no subsetting (by choosing Show Full Collection (no subsetting) from the Subset menu), or when the collection is initially opened.  It is recommended that if you do define field profiles for one or more of your subsets, you also define a Subset: none profile.  That way, the next time the collection is opened (which always results in the List View being displayed, with no subsetting), the List View won’t inadvertently display just the fields from a subset profile, if a subset (and its associated profile) happened to have been in effect when you previously closed the collection or exited from Recollector.


Notes on operating with a subset defined:



Examples of subsets


Here are various examples of subset definitions, to help give an idea of how subsetting can be used.





17th century

'Date' GREATER THAN 1599

AND 'Date' LESS THAN 1700

Wish List

'Status' IS wanted

Uses a field (Status) to differentiate between ‘present’ & ‘wanted’ items.

Items with images

'(Images)' IS NOT EMPTY

Coins acquired in 2006

'Date acquired' IN 2006

Using simply a year (no month or day) with the IN operator correctly matches any date in the specified year.

Texas Maps

'Region' CONTAINS Texas

OR 'Title' CONTAINS Texas

Tries to also include maps where region might be broader (e.g. U.S. Southwest), but Texas is given significance as part of the map title.


Back to: Using the Collection

Back to: Recollector - Home Page