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E-mail access to forms queries

This service provides the capability to retrieve WWW forms and execute WWW forms queries through e-mail.

The address of this service is:
There are two ways to execute a query through this system:
  1. Through the command interface.
  2. By sending an HTML query page to the email server.

Command Interface

Commands to the e-mail service are sent in the message body of an e-mail message. The subject line is only used to build the subject line for the reply.

There are currently two commands available in this service:

  1. Help: The word 'help' (without the quotes) in the message body returns this help message.

  2. action=<URL>: This executes a forms query at the specified URL and returns the result in an e-mail message. Three more lines qualify this query:
    1. method=<method>: <method> is either 'get' or 'post' (without the quotes). This determines what kind of query will be executed. To retrieve a form for further queries, use the 'get' method. To execute a forms query you need to know what type of query the server can handle. If you execute a forms query after retrieving the form through this service, the correct method line will already be in place. Default method is 'get'.
    2. return=<return-type>: <return-type> is either 'text', 'form', or 'raw' (without the quotes). If text return is requested, only the text of the query result is returned, formatted as if viewed by a WWW browser. If form return is requested, the text of the result is returned as well as a template of the form that can again be executed with this service. If raw return is requested, the original document is returned without any processing. Default return is 'form'.
    3. address=<e-mail-address>: <e-mail-address> specifies to which e-mail address the result should be sent. This line is optional. If no address is specified, the result is sent to the address from where the request came.
Additional help will be returned with every form.

HTML Forms Interface

You can execute a query by sending an HTML form directly to the email query service. You can for instance compose the query that you want to execute with the regular query form. Get this filled-out form by clicking on "Return Query Form". This will ask you where to save the query form. You can then email that form to and have the query executed.

The default type of return is:

You can change the return type to 'form' (a form for further execution through this services), or to 'raw' (the raw HTML file of the result) by inserting an HTML comment in the form with the following syntax:

<!-- EMAIL_PARAM: return=raw -->

The 'raw' return is especially interesting if you have an HTML-aware email system, since it will display the HTML page with hyperlinks in the email reader.

For instructions on using this service to search the ADS Abstract Service, please see the URL

This service was developed by:

Dr. Guenther Eichhorn
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
60 Garden Street, MS-4
Cambridge, MA 02138

If you need more information about this service, please send e-mail to