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Method for Search of Database Fields Accessed through "Touch Tone" Keypads

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000013721D
Original Publication Date: 2000-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-18

Publishing Venue



A method is described that provides for the rapid search of alphanumeric database fields using only input from a numeric telephone keypad. Rather than using a standard wild-card search to narrow down the choices, the database is pre-processed and a file is created that is the duplicate of the searched file, except that any non-numeric characters are replaced with the character "*", which is available on the standard telephone keypad. The user is requested to enter the searched for value with replacing every non-numeric character. This allows the search to be made using an exact match, which is much faster and less processor intensive. There are many instances when one must search a database for an alphameric value. Entering an alphameric value on a telephone type of keypad is extremely time consuming. In order to ease the effort in entering this data, typically a wild card search of the data is used, with the user entering an asterisk in place of the non-numeric data. For instance, a serial number of 1234+A would be entered as 1234**. The results obtained from the wild card search would be presented to the user for selection of the correct entry. In a typical Voice Response Unit application, the VRU would create and play the message, "Press 1 if the serial is 1234-A, press 2 if it is 1234-B, and press 3 if it is 1234+A. Unfortunately, this type of wild card search is time consuming. In one example, a wild card search with three wild card characters in a six character field on a database table of 150,000 rows with a non-unique index takes an average of approx. 20 seconds. Using this new method, the same effective search takes only two seconds. The method obtains its speed by changing the wild card search to an exact search. It does so by the following steps: