Welcome to Beyond Reviews, a blog about MathSciNet from the Executive Editor of Mathematical Reviews. For 75 years, Mathematical Reviews has provided a guide to the mathematical literature and featuring reviews by a community of experts. As this literature continues to grow at an exponential rate, such a guide becomes increasingly important. In 1996 MathSciNet was launched, providing online access to all the reviews from January 1940 to the present. From that point on, you no longer had to go to the library to read the famously large and famously orange volumes. Instead, you could do everything from the computer on your desk. The shift from a bound journal to an online resource was more than just a change in form, there was also a major conceptual shift. Now, you could execute searches through the entirety of Mathematical Reviews because it was a database. When the size of the literature crossed the threshold from large to HUGE, this was definitely a Good Thing.
Today, searching is routine. If you can’t recall the difference between joules and watts, check the internet. Can’t remember a recipe? The web remembers. Eventually you find, though, that some searches are better than others. There are tricks that ensure that you get what you really want. And some sites have more reliable results. In this blog, I plan to show some clever ways of using MathSciNet. I also plan to highlight some of the content and tell some of the stories behind Math Reviews.
Of course, if you have a favorite trick or a favorite review, I want to hear from you. As I am fond of telling people, Mathematical Reviews is great because of the people involved. It grew out of the mathematical community to fill a need. And it is the continuing involvement of that community that will ensure the excellence of MathSciNet.