4 Creating Oracle Text Indexes

Learn how to create Oracle Text indexes.

This chapter contains the following topics:

4.1 Summary of the Procedure for Creating an Oracle Text Index

With Oracle Text, you can create indexes of type CONTEXT, CTXCAT, and CTXRULE.

Starting with Oracle Database 12c Release 2 (12.2), you can choose to keep old index entries to search on original content by using the ASYNCHRONOUS_UPDATE parameter string option.

By default, the system expects your documents to be stored in a text column. After you satisfy this requirement, you can create an Oracle Text index by using the CREATE INDEX SQL statement as an extensible index of type CONTEXT, without explicitly specifying preferences. The system automatically detects your language, the data type of the text column, and the format of the documents. Next, the system sets indexing preferences.

To create an Oracle Text index:

  1. (Optional) Determine your custom indexing preferences, section groups, or stoplists if you do not use the defaults. The following table describes these indexing classes:

    Class Description


    How are your documents stored?


    How can the documents be converted to plaintext?


    What language is being indexed?


    How should stem and fuzzy queries be expanded?


    How should the index data be stored?


    What words or themes are not to be indexed?

    Section Group

    How are document sections defined?

  2. (Optional) Create custom preferences, section groups, or stoplists.

  3. Create the Oracle Text index with the CREATE INDEX SQL statement. Name your index and, if necessary, specify preferences.

4.2 Creating Preferences

If you want, you can create custom index preferences to override the defaults. Use the preferences to specify index information, such as where your files are stored and how to filter your documents. You create the preferences and then set the attributes.

4.3 Section Searching Example: Creating HTML Sections

When documents have internal structure such as in HTML and XML, you can define document sections by using embedded tags before you index. This approach enables you to query within the sections by using the WITHIN operator. You define sections as part of a section group.

This example defines a section group called htmgroup of type HTML_SECTION_GROUP. It then creates a zone section in htmgroup called heading identified by the <H1> tag:

ctx_ddl.create_section_group('htmgroup', 'HTML_SECTION_GROUP');
ctx_ddl.add_zone_section('htmgroup', 'heading', 'H1');

4.4 Using Stopwords and Stoplists

A stopword is a word that is not to be indexed, such as this or that in English.

The system supplies a stoplist for every language. By default during indexing, the system uses the Oracle Text default stoplist for your language.

You can edit the default CTXSYS.DEFAULT_STOPLIST or create your own with the following PL/SQL procedures:




You specify your custom stoplists in the parameter clause of CREATE INDEX.

You can also dynamically add stopwords after indexing with the ALTER INDEX statement.

4.4.1 Multilanguage Stoplists

You can create multilanguage stoplists to hold language-specific stopwords. This stoplist is useful when you use MULTI_LEXER to index a table that contains documents in different languages, such as English, German, and Japanese.

To create a multilanguage stoplist, use the CTX_DDL.CREATE_STOPLIST procedure and specify a stoplist type of MULTI_STOPLIST. You add language-specific stopwords with CTX_DDL.ADD_STOPWORD.

4.4.2 Stopthemes and Stopclasses

In addition to defining your own stopwords, you can define stopthemes, which are themes that are not indexed. This feature is available only for English and French.

You can also specify that numbers are not indexed. A class of alphanumeric characters such a numbers that is not to be indexed is a stopclass.

You create a single stoplist, to which you add the stopwords, stopthemes, and stopclasses, and specify the stoplist in the paramstring for CREATE INDEX.

4.4.3 PL/SQL Procedures for Managing Stoplists

Use the following procedures to manage stoplists, stopwords, stopthemes, and stopclasses:









    See Also:

    Oracle Text Reference to learn more about using these procedures

4.5 Creating a CONTEXT Index

The CONTEXT index type is well suited for indexing large, coherent documents in formats such as Microsoft Word, HTML, or plain text. With a CONTEXT index, you can also customize your index in a variety of ways. The documents must be loaded in a text table.

This section contains these topics:

4.5.1 CONTEXT Index and DML

A CONTEXT index is not transactional. When you delete a record, the index is changed immediately. That is, your session no longer finds the record from the moment you make the change, and other users cannot find the record after you commit. For inserts and updates, the new information is not visible to text searches until an index synchronization has occurred. Therefore, when you perform inserts or updates on the base table, you must explicitly synchronize the index with CTX_DDL.SYNC_INDEX.

4.5.2 Default CONTEXT Index Example

The following statement creates a default CONTEXT index called myindex on the text column in the docs table:


When you use the CREATE INDEX statement without explicitly specifying parameters, the system completes the following actions by default for all languages:

  • Assumes that the text to be indexed is stored directly in a text column. The text column can be of type CLOB, BLOB, BFILE, VARCHAR2, or CHAR.

  • Detects the column type and uses filtering for the binary column types of BLOB and BFILE. Most document formats are supported for filtering. If your column is plain text, the system does not use filtering.


    For document filtering to work correctly in your system, you must ensure that your environment is set up correctly to support the AUTO_FILTER filter.

  • Assumes that the language of the text to index is the language specified in your database setup.

  • Uses the default stoplist for the language specified in your database setup. Stoplists identify the words that the system ignores during indexing.

  • Enables fuzzy and stemming queries for your language, if this feature is available for your language.

You can always change the default indexing behavior by customizing your preferences and specifying those preferences in the parameter string of CREATE INDEX.

See Also:

Oracle Text Reference to learn more about configuring your environment to use the AUTO_FILTER filter

4.5.3 Incrementally Creating an Index with ALTER INDEX and CREATE INDEX

The ALTER INDEX and CREATE INDEX statements support incrementally creating a global CONTEXT index.

  • For a global index, use CREATE INDEX to support the NOPOPULATE keyword in the REPLACE parameter of the REBUILD clause. By doing so, you can create indexes incrementally. This keyword is valuable for creating Oracle Text indexes in large installations that cannot afford to have the indexing process running continuously.

  • For a local index partition, modify the ALTER INDEX ... REBUILD partition ... parameters ('REPLACE ...') parameter string to support the NOPOPULATE keyword.

  • For a partition on a local index, CREATE INDEX ... LOCAL ... (partition ... parameters ('NOPOPULATE')) is supported. The partition-level POPULATE or NOPOPULATE keywords override any POPULATE or NOPOPULATE specified at the index level.

See Also:

Oracle Text Reference to learn more about the syntax for the ALTER INDEX and CREATE INDEX statements

4.5.4 Incrementally Creating a CONTEXT Index with POPULATE_PENDING

For large installations that cannot afford to have the indexing process run continuously, use the CTX_DDL.POPULATE_PENDING procedure. This procedure also provides finer control over creation of the indexes. The preferred method is to create an empty index, place all rowids into the pending queue, and build the index through CTX_DDL.SYNC_INDEX.

This procedure populates the pending queue with every rowid in the base table or table partition.

See Also:

Oracle Text Reference for information about CTX_DDL.POPULATE_PENDING

4.5.5 Custom CONTEXT Index Example: Indexing HTML Documents

To index an HTML document set located by URLs, specify the system-defined preference for the NULL_FILTER in the CREATE INDEX statement.

You can also specify your htmgroup section group that uses HTML_SECTION_GROUP and my_url datastore that uses URL_DATASTORE:


ctx_ddl.create_section_group('htmgroup', 'HTML_SECTION_GROUP');
ctx_ddl.add_zone_section('htmgroup', 'heading', 'H1');

You can then index your documents:

CREATE INDEX myindex on docs(htmlfile) indextype is ctxsys.context 
'datastore my_url filter ctxsys.null_filter section group htmgroup'

See Also:

"Creating Preferences " for more examples on creating a custom CONTEXT index

4.5.6 CONTEXT Index Example: Query Processing with FILTER BY and ORDER BY

To enable more efficient query processing and better response time for mixed queries, use FILTER BY and ORDER BY clauses as shown in the following example:

FILTER BY category, publisher, pub_date
ORDER BY pub_date desc;

Because you specified the FILTER BY category, publisher, pub_date clause at query time, Oracle Text also considers pushing a relational predicate on any of these columns into the Oracle Text index row source.

Also, when the query has matching ORDER BY criteria, by specifying ORDER BY pub_date desc, Oracle Text determines whether to push SORT into the Oracle Text index row source for better response time.

4.5.7 DATASTORE Triggers in Release 12c

If you want to create an Oracle Text CONTEXT index on multiple columns, use MULTI_COLUMN_DATASTORE or USER_DATASTORE to bring in the various columns for indexing. Oracle Text updates the index only when the contents of a specified column changes.

4.6 Creating a CTXCAT Index

The CTXCAT index type is well-suited for indexing small text fragments and related information. This index type provides better structured query performance than a CONTEXT index.

4.6.1 CTXCAT Index and DML Operations

A CTXCAT index is transactional. When you perform inserts, updates, and deletes on the base table, Oracle Text automatically synchronizes the index. Unlike a CONTEXT index, no CTX_DDL.SYNC_INDEX is necessary.


Applications that insert without invoking triggers, such as SQL*Loader, do not result in automatic index synchronization as described in this section.

4.6.2 About CTXCAT Subindexes and Their Costs

A CTXCAT index contains subindexes that you define as part of your index set. You create a subindex on one or more columns to improve mixed query performance. However, the time Oracle Text takes to create a CTXCAT index depends on its total size, and the total size of a CTXCAT index is directly related to the following factors:

  • Total text to be indexed

  • Number of subindexes in the index set

  • Number of columns in the base table that make up the subindexes

Many component indexes in your index set also degrade the performance of insert, update, and delete operations, because more indexes must be updated.

Because of the added index time and disk space costs for creating a CTXCAT index, before adding it to your index set, carefully consider the query performance benefit that each component index gives your application.


You can use I_ROWID_INDEX_CLAUSE of BASIC_STORAGE to speed up creation of a CTXCAT index. This clause is described in Oracle Text Reference.

4.6.3 Creating CTXCAT Subindexes

An online auction site that must store item descriptions, prices, and bid-close dates for ordered look-up is a good example for creating a CTXCAT index.

Figure 4-1 Auction Table Schema and CTXCAT Index

Description of Figure 4-1 follows
Description of "Figure 4-1 Auction Table Schema and CTXCAT Index"

Figure 4-1 shows a table called AUCTION with the following schema:

create table auction(
item_id number,
title varchar2(100),
category_id number,
price number,
bid_close date);

To create your subindexes, create an index set to contain them:


Next, determine the structured queries that you are likely to enter. The CATSEARCH query operator takes a mandatory text clause and optional structured clause.

In the example, this means that all queries include a clause for the title column, which is the text column.

Assume that the structured clauses fall into the following categories:

Structured Clauses Subindex Definition to Serve Query Category

'price < 200'

'price = 150'

'order by price'



'price = 100 order by bid_close'

'order by price, bid_close'

'price, bid_close'


Structured Query Clause Category A

The structured query clause contains an expression only for the price column as follows:

SELECT FROM auction WHERE CATSEARCH(title, 'camera', 'price < 200')> 0;
SELECT FROM auction WHERE CATSEARCH(title, 'camera', 'price = 150')> 0;
SELECT FROM auction WHERE CATSEARCH(title, 'camera', 'order by price')> 0;

These queries can be served by using subindex B. However, for efficiency, you can also create a subindex only on price (subindex A):

ctx_ddl.add_index('auction_iset','price'); /* sub-index A */

Structured Query Clause Category B

The structured query clause includes an equivalent expression for price ordered by bid_close, and an expression for ordering by price and bid_close, in that order:

   title, 'camera','price = 100 
   ORDER BY bid_close')> 0;
SELECT FROM auction 
   title, 'camera','order by price, bid_close')> 0;

These queries can be served with a subindex defined as follows:

ctx_ddl.add_index('auction_iset','price, bid_close'); /* sub-index B */

Like a combined b-tree index, the column order that you specify with CTX_DDL.ADD_INDEX affects the efficiency and viability of the index scan which Oracle Text uses to serve specific queries. For example, if two structured columns p and q have a b-tree index specified as 'p,q', Oracle Text cannot scan this index to sort 'ORDER BY q,p'.

4.6.4 Creating CTXCAT Index

This example combines the previous examples and creates the index set preference with the two subindexes:

ctx_ddl.add_index('auction_iset','price'); /* sub-index A */
ctx_ddl.add_index('auction_iset','price, bid_close'); /* sub-index B */

Figure 4-1 shows how the subindexes A and B are created from the auction table. Each subindex is a b-tree index on the text column and the named structured columns. For example, subindex A is an index on the title column and the bid_close column.

You create the combined catalog index with the CREATE INDEX statement as follows:

CREATE INDEX auction_titlex ON AUCTION(title) 
  PARAMETERS ('index set auction_iset')

See Also:

Oracle Text Reference to learn more about creating a CTXCAT index with CREATEINDEX

4.7 Creating a CTXRULE Index

To build a document classification application, use the CTXRULE index on a table or queries. The stream of incoming documents is classified by content, and the queries define your categories. You can use the MATCHES operator to classify single documents.

To create a CTXRULE index and a simple document classification application:

  1. Create a table of queries.

    Create a myqueries table to hold the category name and query text, and then populate the table with the classifications and the queries that define each classification.

    CREATE TABLE myqueries (
    category VARCHAR2(30),
    query VARCHAR2(2000)

    For example, consider a classification for the US Politics, Music, and Soccer subjects:

    INSERT INTO myqueries VALUES(1, 'US Politics', 'democrat or republican');
    INSERT INTO myqueries VALUES(2, 'Music', 'ABOUT(music)');
    INSERT INTO myqueries VALUES(3, 'Soccer', 'ABOUT(soccer)');


    You can also generate a table of rules (or queries) with the CTX_CLS.TRAIN procedure, which takes as input a document training set.

  2. Create the CTXRULE index.

    Use the CREATE INDEX statement to create the CTXRULE index and specify lexer, storage, section group, and wordlist parameters if needed.

    CREATE INDEX myruleindex ON myqueries(query)
               ('lexer lexer_pref 
                 storage storage_pref 
                 section group section_pref 
                 wordlist wordlist_pref');
  3. Classify a document.

    Use the MATCHES operator to classify a document.

    Assume that incoming documents are stored in the table news:

    CREATE TABLE news ( 
    newsid NUMBER,
    author VARCHAR2(30),
    source VARCHAR2(30),
    article CLOB);

    If you want, create a "before insert" trigger with MATCHES to route each document to a news_route table based on its classification:

      -- find matching queries
      FOR c1 IN (select category
                   from myqueries
                  where MATCHES(query, :new.article)>0) 
        INSERT INTO news_route(newsid, category)
          VALUES (:new.newsid, c1.category);
      END LOOP;

See Also:

4.8 Creating a Search Index for JSON

Oracle Text supports a simpler alternative syntax for creating a search index on JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). The JSON search index is created on the table column name.