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The query software uses a table structure: a search of the Observations Catalogue copies selected records, in similar format, into an output `query table', which itself becomes the input table for the next operation.
Most ARCQUERY commands operate on an input table and many produce an output table. In a simple (interactive) query session the user does not need to worry about table names because by default a simple numerical sequence will be used (see below). In more complicated sessions, however, the user can and indeed may have to specify input and/or output table names through the usage of the qualifiers /INPUT_TABLE and /OUTPUT_TABLE (see e.g. section and section ). An existing table can also be renamed (see section ).
The following rules apply to the nomenclature of query tables: