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5 Joins and Matches

TOPCAT allows you to join two or more tables together to produce a new one in a variety of ways, and also to identify "similar" rows within a single table according to their cell contents. This section describes the facilities for performing these related operations.

There are two basic ways to join tables together: top-to-bottom and side-by-side. A top-to-bottom join (which here I call concatenation) is fairly straightforward in that it just requires you to decide which columns in one table correspond to which columns in the other. A side-by-side join is more complicated - it is rarely the case that row i in the first table should correspond to row i in the second one, so it is necessary to provide some criteria for deciding which (if any) row in the second table corresponds to a given row in the first. In other words, some sort of matching between rows in different tables needs to take place. This corresponds to what is called a join in database technology. Matching rows within a single table is a useful operation which involves many of the same issues, so that is described here too.


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TOPCAT - Tool for OPerations on Catalogues And Tables
Starlink User Note253
TOPCAT web page: http://www.starlink.ac.uk/topcat/
Author email: m.b.taylor@bristol.ac.uk
Mailing list: topcat-user@jiscmail.ac.uk