I've inherited about 7000 database files that use a particular format where the fields are separated by semicolons -- each file has about 2500 lines. The current set-up is that the files reside on one server, and the searching is done by another server. Unfortunately, I only have access to the server where the files reside. The search tools on the other one are broken and I don't know if they will ever be fixed. So I'm trying to figure out how to set up my own search site, which needs to be for free if at all possible. My programming experience is in C, and now Java. I've started learning PHP and MySQL. I am certain I can handle the PHP part and the basic MySQL stuff, but I know I need to build indexes (indices) in order to efficiently do my searches. I found the command for building indexes in MySQL, but my question is, how do I build indexes when the data is spread across several files? And a corollary is, how do I tell the index process what the schema is for the index building process? I'm hoping that I can build the indexes in one place while leaving the database files on the current server, but if necessary I guess I can copy them all over to a new server, but again, I need a free situation, because this is a volunteer project. I'm not getting paid for any of this.

I apologize that I don't know all of the database jargon yet, so please try to explain things in basic terms. Thanks for any help you can give me.

Alice in Illinois