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We present a user-centered database query language called QBT (Query By Templates) for user communication with databases containing complex structured data, such as data stored in the Extensible Markup Language (XML). XML has revolutionized data storage as well as representation and transfer methods in today's internet applications. The growing popularity of XML as a language for the representation of data has enabled its use for several applications involving storage, interchange, and retrieval of data. Several textual query languages have been proposed for XML retrieval, including the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) recommendation of XQuery. Native XML database systems have been implemented, all of which provide methods for user communication with the database, although most communication methods use text-based query languages or form-based interfaces. QBT, the language presented here, is one of the first attempts toward a generalized alternative language that is based on human factors of familiarity. It is ideal for documents with a simple yet highly recognizable layout (e.g., poems, dictionaries, journals, etc.). We present the QBT language and report results from an initial usability test that shows promise for this type of an interface as a generalized user-database communication method.