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The ARCQUERY software employs about 20 primary commands, which fall in roughly six groups:
An on-line HELP (section ) facility can be accessed at any point in a query session by simply typing a "?". For example, typing "SELECT ?" on the ARCQUERY prompt will produce that part of the HELP information pertaining to the SELECT command; alternatively, one may use "HELP SELECT" .
The ARCQuery software uses a table structure: a SELECT operation on table N, for instance, will produce a new output table N+1. The default table 0 on entry is, of course, the catalogue itself; the newly created output table becomes the default for the next operation. Similarly, table-handling commands all create new tables (which then become the default). Input and output tables can also be specified with command qualifiers, and one can flip back and forth between tables, if one so wishes. The default table can also be explicitly defined; see sections and , and below.