[snip] i'm trying to write a simple query to check each and every table for a certain group of phone numbers from another table which lists all the jobs and its properties. this is what i want to do... select * from (select distinct job_name from jobs) where phonenumber IN ( <<numbers here>> ) basically, i want to cycle through each job name from the Jobs table, and within the same database, there is a table with that Job name. I.e. Jobs holds: Job1, Job2 and I have the following tables: Jobs Job1 Job2 in my main listing under the DB. [/snip] I am not sure that you have provided enough information here or I just don't understand, but lets see if we can make order of it. You need to check a large number of tables for a list of phone numbers from one table? What is your database software and are you using PHP or ASP or PERL or anything like that?