I'm about to start developing a web interface to a search - it indexes a large number of items with a lot of metadata, so there is a need to enable searching in multiple ways over lots of data.
There are identified cases for searching for the following on any of the ~200 metadata fields:
- items created/modified/otherwise stamped with specific dates
- likewise but over date ranges
- keywords in one or more of different text fields
- the presence/absence of certain fields
- full text search
- numerical searches (including ranges)
- And there are likely to be more when I get into it
Sticking a box at the top of the page for each of these will be irritatingly bulky; but the obvious choice (to me) – a completely text interface (like the lucene query language) – seems like it would be too difficult to use initially.
My question is: what advice do you have for building comprehensive but easy - and importantly quick - search interfaces?
My target audience is a small known team, ie. group of people who will have deep knowledge of what's been indexed and can be trained to use the system in an 'advanced' way for additional speed benefits.