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Classifying fields so that they are searchable for report

Question asked by indyj on Jun 3, 2014
Latest reply on Jun 5, 2014 by philmodjunk


Classifying fields so that they are searchable for report


     Hi all,

     I have just transitioned from Access to Filemaker and am still trying to get my head around the differences, so this is probably a typical newbie question, but I was hoping someone on here may be able to help me.

     I'm an bioarchaeologist and I am building a database for my skeletal research. I have a database where the skeletonID is the primary key, and then several tables that adds information about various skeletal features. 

     The table I have gotten stuck on is a table of non-metric traits that each skeleton could have. There are 30 or so of these traits, and they are each coded as 0-absent, 1-present or 2-partial. I have set up a table with the skeletonID as the key, and then fields for each trait - so far so good. Each skeletonID is a record, with all the traits filled in as 0, 1 or 2. Here's the problem: Each trait can have three additional attributes: they can 1) either be cranial or postcranial, 2) primary or supplementary (Standards Classification) or 3) classified into one of 5 groups with names like Hypostotic or Hyperostotic etc. (Saunders classification) These classifications do not really have to be on the layout, but I would like to be able to search for them in queries/reports, so that I can search for "all cranial traits" or "all primary traits" for example. 

     The only way I can think of is to have a portal where you would choose the trait from a dropdown list for each record, and then matching valuelists with the classifications for the following fields (i.e. my table would have only the fields for SkeletonID, Trait, and the three different classes, with a new record for each trait) , but I would prefer to just have all the traits spelled out in the table and listed on the layout if possible. I would also like to have the classification be automatic, so that all "MetopicSuture" entries would automatically be classified as "Cranial", "Primary" and "Hypostotic" for example, without having to choose the classification from a list each time. 

     Is there a more elegant way to solve this? Sorry for the long post, I'm probably not very good at explaining what it is I'm trying to do... I appreciate the help!