HeraldicArt.org: Traceable Art | Armorial | Indices | Emblazons | Blog

Complex Search Hints

Here are some hints for using the Complex Search Form. The purpose of the form is to combine several search methods into a single search. Before using this form, you should familiarize yourself with the following search methods:

Search Criteria

This portion of the form allows you to specify up to five search criteria in order to find the registration(s) of interest to you.

There are currently four methods available for specifying criteria:


Each criterion will match a certain number of registrations. Usually, the result of a complex search consists of all registrations which match one or more of the criteria specified.

In a search with multiple criteria, you may only be interested in registrations which match all or almost all of the criteria. To make these registrations easy to locate, each item in the search result is given a score based on how many criteria it satisfied.

Items matching all the criteria naturally have the highest score; when you group the results by their score, you can easily locate these items. The "Group By Score" option is enabled by default, but you can disable it if you want all of the results sorted together without regard for the score.

If you know that you only want to view results at or above a certain score, you can enter that value in the "Minimum Score" field. For example, if you entered five criteria, and you know you only want to see items which match at least four of them, you can set this field to "4".

As a shortcut, "Minimum Score" values that are less than one are used as an offset from the maximum possible score of a result that matched all of your criteria. For example, if you entered five criteria, you could set a minimum score of five by setting this field to "0", or specify a minimum score of four by setting it to "-1".


Sometimes you may want to give some criteria more weight than others. For instance, suppose you are looking for a registration connected to the name "Alaric" which probably contains a chief (but you're less certain of the charge). In this case, you might want the search results to appear in the following order:

  1. registrations for names containing "Alaric" and armory with a chief
  2. registrations for names containing "Alaric" but armory with no chief
  3. other registrations

You can achieve this results by giving the "Alaric" name-pattern criterion a weight of 2 and the "CHIEF" armory-description criterion a weight of only 1.

Matches with "Alaric" and a chief will have a score of 3. Those with "Alaric" but no chief will have a score of 2. Items with a chief but no "Alaric" will have a score of 1.

Display Options

You can specify how you want your search results sorted. There are three options: by name, by date of last action, and by blazon. It is usually easiest to find names when they are sorted by name. You might want to sort by date if you know that the item you are looking for is particularly old or recent.

The "Result Limit" option controls the size of your search result. It defaults to 500, but you can change this to another number to see more or fewer results. If more than this number of items match your criteria, you will see a notice linking to an explanation of the limit feature.

The "A.S. Dates" option controls whether dates are shown in modern style (Common Era year/A.D.) or SCA style (Anno Societatis). The SCA calendar counts years from the SCA's "First Tournament" (1 May 1966) and traditionally uses Roman numerals for years.

The "Glossary Links" option controls whether blazons are displayed with links to the heraldic glossary. These links are helpful if you are unclear on the meanings of basic blazon terms.

The "Armory Descriptions" option controls whether armory description codes are shown under each blazon.

Submitting the Search

The button at the bottom of the form marked "search for items matching the name pattern" is used to launch the search. The server takes no action until you press the button.

Related web pages:

config.web version 2023-03-31 (1:151+)