Once data is in the database and the routine analysis has been finished by running UPDATE (final epicenters recorded in CAT and the S-files), it is possible to go on with general work with the data. This means searching the database, making a bulletin or plotting the epicenters. It is also possible to use some of the more specialized tools of SEISAN which include working on subsets of data or creating other databases, see 5.4. For general use, the basic philosophy is that the user should not enter the REA directories. All commands and programs should be used from the user's own directory or the WOR directory. To access part of the main database, the programs always ask for start and end date as follows:
|19880602011001||: including from or to the second|
|198806020110||: including from or to the minute|
|1988060201||: including from or to the hour|
|19880602||: including from or to the day|
|198806||: including from or to the month|
|1988||: including from or to the year|
|BLANK||: only used as end date, means to end of month|
Note that the end time is inclusive, this means that e.g. 198806 includes all of June 1988.
Thus most programs will work from any given date-time to any other given date-time. Programs that work directly on the S-files in the database (e.g. COLLECT) can work with any time interval in which the database structure has been created. THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT THAT THERE IS DATA IN THE INDIVIDUAL MONTHLY DIRECTORIES, ONLY THAT THEY EXIST. There are usually 4 options for database, either the standard base (often by default), the user's own subset of the standard base (an INDEX file or S-files in local directory) or another database. If the user has his own database specified by an INDEX file, the event ID's must be in that INDEX file. Since the index file gives complete file name of event files, the index file can work on a subset of the main database.
Note that most of the programs are used as stand-alone programs, disregarding the database structure. If one for example prefers to have all events gathered in one file rather than split into many files and directories most programs will therefore work.