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Contact Managers
Pages: 1, 2, 3

Keeping a contact manager database

The Insidious Big Brother Database is a contact manager tool for use with Emacs, and it's compatible with all of the Emacs email and news readers. It stores contact information in "records" and allows you to search for records that match a regular expression as well as records whose particular fields match a regular expression.

There are several ways to add a record to the database. Use the "bbdb-create" function to manually add a record (when you run this command, bbdb prompts you to enter the relevant information for each field). When in a mail reader inside Emacs, type : to display the record for the author of the current message; if there is none, bbdb asks whether or not one should be created.

To manually create a new bbdb record, type:

M-x bbdb-create

To make a new bbdb record for the author of the current email message, type:


Use the "bbdb" function to search for records -- it takes as an option the pattern or regular expression to search for.

To output records containing the text "scott" anywhere in the record, type:

M-x bbdb

There are additional functions that let you narrow your search to a particular field: "bbdb-name", "bbdb-company", "bbdb-net" and "bbdb-notes", which respectively search the name, company, e-mail address, and notes fields.

To output records matching the regular expression "*\.edu" in the e-mail address, type:

M-x bbdb-net

Next week: using Linux for reminders.

Michael Stutz was one of the first reporters to cover Linux and the free software movement in the mainstream press.

Read more Living Linux columns.

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