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+LookupModule : +Goal

Call the procedure visible in LookupModule rather than the caller module
Atom, or list of atoms
Callable term (atom or compound)


This predicate provides a means to invoke a procedure which is not visible. Normally, when a procedure is called, the system looks for a visible definition (local or imported) in the caller module. This primitive on the other hand allows to specify a different lookup module.

One of two conditions must be satisfied for the lookup to succeed:

The purpose of this is to allow calling procedures whose definition is not visible in the caller module. The two main uses of this facility are:
  1. If there are several definitions of a procedure with the same name in different modules, :/2 can be used to specify which one to call.
  2. If a module wants to define a procedure, but needs to call another procedure of the same name (but from a different module), :/2 can be used to call that one instead of the locally defined one.
Note that :/2 does not affect the caller (context) module of the call. The following table summarises the different idioms:
	Call within module(m)         lookup module    caller module

	..., twice(X), ...               m               m
	..., lm : twice(X), ...         lm               m
	..., twice(X) @ cm, ...          m              cm
	..., lm : twice(X) @ cm, ...    lm              cm
	..., call(twice(X)) @ cm, ...   cm              cm

It is possible to give a list of lookup modules, e.g.

        ..., [m1,m2]:Goal, ...
is equivalent to the conjunction
        ..., m1:Goal, m2:Goal, ...
With an empty list, the goal is completely ignored, so the idiom
        ..., []:Goal, ...
can be used to disable a subgoal.

If the lookup module does not exist (error 86), the event handler will try to find and autoload a library to supply the module.


This predicate is sensitive to its module context (tool predicate, see @/2).

Fail Conditions

Fails if Goal fails


Resatisfiable if Goal is resatisfiable


(4) instantiation fault
Goal is not instantiated.
(4) instantiation fault
LookupModule is not instantiated.
(5) type error
Goal is neither an atom nor a compound term.
(5) type error
LookupModule is neither an atom nor a list of atoms.
(68) calling an undefined procedure
Goal is an undefined procedure in LookupModule.
(86) lookup module does not exist
LookupModule does not exist.


% When two definitions are visible, qualify calls to disambiguate
% (extra parentheses may be needed around the invoked goal):

    :- lib(ic).     % exports $>= / 2
    :- lib(eplex).  % exports $>= / 2

	..., ic:(X $>= Y), ...
	..., eplex:(X $>= Y), ...

% Call multiple versions by giving a list of modules:

	..., [ic,eplex]:(X $>= Y), ...

% Call a predicate that is hidden by a local definition:

    :- lib(lists).     % exports print_list/1

    print_list(List) :-
	writeln("This is the list:"),

% Library autoloading (when lookup module does not exist)

    ?- calendar:mjd_now(Now).
    WARNING: module 'calendar' does not exist, loading library...
    calendar.eco loaded in 0.00 seconds
    Now = 59647.379236111119
    Yes (0.00s cpu)

See Also

call / 1, @ / 2, export / 1