A method and system (28) are provided for dynamically controlling the content of a local receiver data base (24, 26) from a transmitter data base (20) in an information retrieval communication network (28) in which a message transmitter transmitting the transmitter data base (20) dynamically provides data base messages over a message distribution network (22) to local receivers receiving the local receiver data bases (24, 26). The transmitter data base (20) messages are used to incrementally increase and decrease the content of the local receiver data base (24, 26) on a record-by-record basis. In addition, non-data base messages may also be provided. The data base messages consist of displayable data as well as file maintenance messages. Storage templates (42) are retrievably stored at the local receiver data base (24, 26). These storage templates (42) are locally retrieved based on receipt of a unique identifier. Each stored record (40) has a unique associated storage template (42) although a storage template (42) may be corresponding to several different records (40 ). Set identifiers defining multiple field identifiers of information fields and ripple chains, which chains require a change in only one field in the ripple chain to be transmitted, are used by the local receiver data base (24, 26) in conjunction with transmitted update record data base messages (54) to reduce the communications capacity that is required.