MathSciNet now has an auto-suggest feature for Author Searches and Journal Searches. The feature uses the databases themselves to help you with your searches.
When using MathSciNet, clicking on the “Author” tab switches you from doing a search for published items to doing a search for authors. Author searches are very important, but getting the right name can be tricky. (See this earlier post on the subject of authors and names.) When you start typing a name in the Author search, after a couple of letters have been entered, MathSciNet begins offering suggestions. The suggestions are coming from instant queries of the Mathematical Reviews author database. For example, this is what what I now see when typing “Serre” into an Author search:
When you have a list of suggestions, you can either hit “Enter” to ignore the suggestion and search using what you have typed so far or click on one of them to execute an Author search using those terms. It is important to note that the result of choosing a selection is launching a search. Many times, you will have a unique match, but other times there will be multiple matches. For instance, selecting “Serre F” from the example above matches two authors: “Serre, F.” and “Serre, François“.
Help with Journal searches is particularly useful since many journal titles are similar. We have roughly 1,800 active journals in MathSciNet, plus many historical journals (which might just be older versions of current journals). Lots of journals have the word “Journal” in the title. “Mathematical” is also popular. Skimming this list can give you an idea of similarities of titles.
The auto-suggest feature for Journal searches works similarly to that for Author searches. Click on the “Journal” tab to switch to doing a search for journals. When typing in a search word or phrase, after you type a couple of letters, MathSciNet starts offering suggestions. The suggestions are coming from instant queries of the Mathematical Reviews journal database. For example, here is what I see after typing “functional” into a Journal search:
Once again, when you have a list of suggestions, you can either hit “Enter” to ignore the suggestion and use what you have typed so far or click on one of the suggestions to execute a Journal search using those terms. Again, the result of choosing a selection is launching a search. Many times, you will have a unique match, but other times, there will be multiple matches. For instance, clicking on “Journal of Functional Analysis” in the example produces six results. Some are older incarnations of the current “Journal of Functional Analysis“, but you also get Journal of Nonlinear Functional Analysis and Differential Equations.
We hope these two new features help you to use MathSciNet more effectively. We have been beta testing them in-house at Mathematical Reviews for a while now and have found both to be tremendously helpful.
And, if you are going to the Joint Mathematical Meetings in San Diego, I hope you will come see Mathematical Reviews and MathSciNet at the AMS booth in the exhibit hall. My previous post has information about our activities there.