But the point is that I could use that long, narrow result set of just the index to find the start point for a short, broad result set, when scrolling ?>backwards through the file, and I could reasonably search the long, narrow result set to find the ordinal starting position when repositioning by key.

But why would you want to? That's work you want the database engine to do for you. It is smart. It has optimizers. You are trying to build your own index from an index. Don't work so hard. Use the tool.

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