Collections management applications are primarily query intensive. The queries tend to have multiple criteria. Institutions enter or edit relatively few records during a working day. It is not uncommon for a collections management catalogue table for a large museum to comprise 1,000 or more fields, many of which are text and exceed 255 characters in length. The collections management system must be able to query on any combination of these fields. As the size of the collection grows, retrieval performance becomes a significant issue.
Standard relational DBMS, such as SQL Server and Oracle, are primarily designed for online transaction processing applications ("OLTP"). OLTP applications are characteristically insert and update intensive on numerous tables with relatively few columns. Most industry benchmarks of database performance are designed to measure OLTP.
Texpress was designed specifically for collections management applications. It offers features not available in conventional relational DBMS:

  • There is no practical limit to the number of fields in a table. EMu catalogue tables regularly exceed 1,000 fields.
  • All fields in all tables regardless of length are indexed and keyword searchable without performance or disk storage penalties. Text is a native data type that is fully indexed.
  • Nested tables of repeating values (e.g. Materials) can be stored within a regular table without creating a separate table of material values and a linkage table.
  • The more terms in a query, the faster the performance. Note: update speed is not compromised as a result of query performance.

Texpress can be characterised as "the world's fastest collections management database management system". Institutions using Texpress manage millions of records with many concurrent users and extremely fast performance. Texpress can be viewed as the ultimate collections management "data warehouse".