MathOverflow and MathSciNet

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Earlier, I posted about adding MR links to Wikipedia pages.  The point of that post was that it was fairly simple to add a link to MathSciNet while editing a Wikipedia page.  In March 2014, Scott Morrison, a MathOverflow user (and moderator), created an add-on that used MathSciNet to verify and insert a reference in a post to MathOverflow.  You can read about it on MathOverflow here.  Now, MathOverflow has made a version of Morrison’s citation helper a built-in feature of the site.  Read about it here.  In what follows, I will give an example of how to the citation helper works, using a paper of Robert Bryant.

If you are answering a question, say, about solitons in Ricci flow, you may have reason to cite Robert Bryant.  So, in your answer window, you start writing

Entering text for the answer

OK – which paper by Robert Bryant?  He has written a few.  A relevant paper is his paper dealing with gradient Kähler Ricci solitons.  To put that in, I launch the Citation Helper.   In the tool bar above the box where I can enter text, there are a few icons.  I want the icon that looks like a speech bubble with a link in it:

Highlighting the icon for the Citation Helper

Clicking that launches the Citation Helper,  which now lies over the edit window for MathOverflow.  In the top line, I enter what I know about the citation.  In this case, I am putting in the author’s name and what I think is the title of the paper.

Initial screen for Citation Helper

I hit <Enter> and the Citation Helper starts looking.

Matches in Citation Helper

There was only one match.  Even so, I have to click the match to activate it.  (In case there are several matches, clicking one of them selects it.)  The last line of each match offers some previews.  In this case, there is a link to the MathSciNet item for the article.  If the Citation Helper can find the paper on the arXiv, you will be offered an “arXiv” link for previewing, too.  The preview helps you verify that you have really found the paper you meant.

To insert the citation into the answer, I need to click the button at the bottom right of the box

Insert Citation

Once this is done, some code has been added to my text:

You should check the paper by Robert Bryant:

<cite authors="Robert L. Bryant" mrnumber="2521644" cite="_Ast'erisque_ (2008), no. 321, 51--97">_Robert L. Bryant_, MR 2521644 [**Gradient Kähler Ricci solitons**](, _Ast'erisque_ (2008), no. 321, 51--97.</cite>

The citation helper has filled in the correct bibliographic information for the paper, along with the MR number of the paper.  Moreover, you can see that the title of the paper is a link to its listing on MathSciNet .  On MathOverflow, it would look like

Result in MathOverflow

That’s it!  Now you can not only make sure you have the exact citation you meant, but you can provide links to more information about it from MathSciNet!

I want to thank Robert Bryant, who first pointed out Scott Morrison’s citation helper to me.  I am also very grateful to Oded, a Stack Overflow developer, who was quite helpful (and patient) with my questions about the Citation Helper and who was involved in  converting Morrison’s user script into a script supported by Stack Exchange / MathOverflow.

About Edward Dunne

I am the Executive Editor of Mathematical Reviews. Previously, I was an editor for the AMS Book Program for 17 years. Before working for the AMS, I had an academic career working at Rice University, Oxford University, and Oklahoma State University. In 1990-91, I worked for Springer-Verlag in Heidelberg. My Ph.D. is from Harvard. I received a world-class liberal arts education as an undergraduate at Santa Clara University.
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