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What's New with the ADS Abstract Service

Last updated: 18 Mar 1997
We are pleased to announce the following new features in ADS:

1)  New TOC page
2)  Wildcard searches
3)  We need Journals!
1) We have changed the "TOC_Query" (Table of Contents) linked in the Abstract Service query form. The new page contains gifs of the major journals, and returns the latest volume for each of them. The old toc form (to retrieve any other volume for the major journals) is linked from the new page.

2) We have implemented wildcard searches in the abstract service. You can now search for word* and for *word (but not for wo*rd).

We have also implemented multiple prefixes (for 2 prefixes). For example:

    +=bismuth  -- does not do synonym replacement ('=') and
                  is required for selection in simple logic ('+') 
For more information on the simple logic prefixes, please see the help linked above the search fields.

3) We are missing a number of journals (both single issues and more extensive sets) which we would like to scan. If you have extra journals which you would be willing to donate, please see the list of what we need at

Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments.

We are pleased to announce the following new features into ADS this month:

1)  Phrase searching is here!
2)  Citations and References linked into the system.
3)  Setting your own preferences.
4)  A&A, PASJ, and BaltA online -- Scanning summary.
1) We have implemented phrase searching in the Abstract Service. Users may enter words between single or double quotes (or period-separated) to retrieve only abstracts containing that pattern.

2) With funding support from the AAS, we have purchased citation and reference information from the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), producers of the Science Citation Index. Now available by following "C" and "R" links are citations to the article and references contained within that article.

These are currently included for ApJ and ApJL only, but we expect to have the information for all other refereed journals back to 1981 in the system shortly.

3) We have added the capability of setting your own preferences (through WWW cookies) for printing and retrieving articles. These options are available on the "default" settings page linked where you print the articles. Your preferred database, return format and resolution for the article, compression mechanism, fax number, email address, and window font and color preferences can also be set.

4) We have put 3 years of A&A articles, 5 years of PASJ, and 5 years of Baltic Astronomy online. We now have the following full journal articles online:

    ApJ:    v.271 - v.473   (8/83 - 12/96)
    ApJL:   v.195 - v.473   (1/75 - 12/96)
    AJ:     v.80 - v.110    (1/75 - 12/95)
    A&A:    v.267 - v.304   (1/93 - 12/95)
    MNRAS:  v.212 - v.271   (1985 - 1994)
    PASP:   v.87 - v.108#6  (1/75 - 6/96)
    PASJ:   v.42 - v.47     (1/90 - 12/95)
    PASA:   v.3 - v.10      (1976 - 1993)
    BaltA:  v.1 - v.5#2     (1/92 - 6/96)
    RMxAA:  v.2 - v.32#1    (11/74 - 4/96)
    CoSka:  v.11 - v.24     (1983 - 1994)
We will continue to add older A&A, MNRAS, and ApJ once we get new disks, and will also be adding the Bulletin of the Astronomical Society of India next.

Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments.


ADS is pleased to announce the ADS Mirror site at CDS in Strasbourg, France!

We have now mirrored the ADS Abstract service at CDS at the web site:

Users in Europe and Asia may want to use that site for faster searching. This site does not contain the article bitmaps, so transfer of those will still be from SAO in Cambridge, MA. We are continuing to look into options for mirroring the articles as well.

Other recent news includes:

1)  New starting year default for searches
2)  Soundex and phonix searching for author names
3)  Scanning summary.
1) We have added a default starting year for searches of 1982. We have chosen to return only the most recent 15 years of abstracts in preparation for adding older journal material (before 1975) which most users would not want to see by default. The 1982 may be erased to return all references for any given query.

2) We have added an option to the author searching in the LISTS_QUERY page to return author names which sound like the name entered in the form. This allows users to search for authors when they are uncertain of the author spelling. We currently merge results of a "soundex" and a "phonix" search to return all possible names.

3) We have added 5 more years of MNRAS articles (now since 1985) and now have the following online:

    ApJ:    v.271 - v.454#1 (8/83 - 11/95)
    ApJL:   v.195 - v.473   (1/75 - 11/96)
    AJ:     v.80 - v.110#5  (1/75 - 11/95)
    PASP:   v.87 - v.108#5  (1/75 - 5/96)
    RMxAA:  v.2 - v.32#1    (11/74 - 4/96)
    PASA:   v.3 - v.10      (1976 - 1993)
    CoSka:  v.11 - v.24     (1983 - 1994)
    MNRAS:  v.242 - v.271   (1990 - 1994)
We will continue to add MNRAS and older ApJ (pending the arrival of new disks), and are shipping A&A to the scanning company soon.

On December 15 we will make available online all the 1996 ApJ and ApJL articles. Future issues will only be made available in electronic format by the AAS to their subscribers.

Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments.

ADS is pleased to announce the following this month:

1) New options for search logic for ADS Abstract Service! 
2) Phrase searching and soundex searching on the way. 
3) New options for synonyms on a word-by-word basis. 
4) Direct links to your own papers and articles. 
5) abs_doc subdirectory obsolete. 
6) Scanning summary. 
1) In the last month, we have added new options for changing the logic of a query to the ADS Abstract Service. The logic options, available above the text entry fields include the following:

OR: Combining words within a text field with "OR" is the default, and remains unchanged.

AND: This is for combining words within a text field with "AND".

These two options were formerly available from the "Settings" in the lower portion of the query page.

NEW Options!

Simple: Simple logic recognizes '+' and '-' before the words. To require a word to be found in a search, it needs a '+' in front of it. A '-' before a word indicates that only references that do NOT contain that word should be returned. AND, OR, NOT are stopwords and will be ignored in the simple logic.

Boolean: This allows more complex queries than just combining all words with "OR" or "AND". The allowed boolean operators are: "and", "or", "not", "(", and ")". They can be used in any combination (as long as "(" and ")" match). For example the query "(redshift or survey) and not galaxy" finds all references that contain either "redshift" or "survey", but not "galaxy". The order of precedence of the operators is "(...)", "not", "and", "or". For larger numbers of search terms, this type of search will be slower than regular searches, especially if the "not" operator is used.

For full boolean author searches, the syntax is somewhat awkward. Each operator has to be on a separate line. This includes the "(" and ") operators. Regular scoring is done on any terms that are combined with "or". "and" and "not" combinations are scored as 1.

2) We are working on implementing searching for phrases and expect to have it in place before the AAS meeting in January.

We are also implementing soundex capability for author searching, where you can type in an author's name phonetically (the way it sounds), and the server will return a list of all possible matches.

3) We have added the capability to turn synonym replacement on or off for individual words within a query. By default, synonym replacement is done for all words. To exclude a word from synonym replacement, use the "=" sign before that word (to exactly match that word and no synonyms). If you have turned off synonym replacement but want it on for a given word, use the "#" sign before the word.

Remember, that for searching for exact authors names, it is best to use the exact author search capability linked about the author entry field.

4) You can link directly to your own papers and articles through queries to the abstract database. To do so, use the following syntax:
This sets the author=last, first initial (author), turns on author synonym replacement (aut_syn), and does not include the listing of parameters at the bottom of the page (return_req=no_params).

If you want to specify the author middle initial in addition to the first initial, use exact author matching (&aut_xct=YES):
Note that there can not be any spaces in the URL, so the "+" sign replaces spaces. Also, you can search for two different formats of author names by entering two author arguments, separated with a semicolon.
To link directly to your own papers, use URL's of the form:

5) Please check your bookmarks, and make sure you are not still using the "abs_doc" subdirectory to access the Abstract Service. That link is obsolete, and relative links might not work from that page.

6) We have added 5 years of MNRAS articles and now have the following online:

    ApJ:    v.271 - v.454#1 (8/83 - 11/95)
    ApJL:   v.195 - v.473   (1/75 - 11/96)
    AJ:     v.80 - v.110#5  (1/75 - 11/95)
    PASP:   v.87 - v.108#5  (1/75 - 5/96)
    RMxAA:  v.2 - v.32#1    (11/74 - 4/96)
    PASA:   v.3 - v.10      (1976 - 1993)
    CoSka:  v.11 - v.24     (1983 - 1994)
    MNRAS:  v.242 - v.271   (1990 - 1994)
We will continue to add MNRAS and older ApJ (pending the arrival of new disks), and are shipping A&A to the scanning company soon.

Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments.


HAPPY 90th BIRTHDAY to Fred Whipple

and thanks for the donation of MNRAS journals, five years of which are now online (1990-1994).

Sorry for the short notice, but all ADS services will be down for about 1.5 hours while we fix a problem with a disk. We expect the downtime to last from 0730 EST to about 0900 EST.

ADS is pleased to announce the following new features and data available through the Abstract Service:

 1) Author links
 2) PDF article links
 3) New data sources
 4) New articles online
 5) Cookie implementation information
1) We have added links to the author names appearing on the page containing the abstract. These links provide access to specific information about that author, often including an email address and institution. Included when available are:

  • the listing in Chris Benn's astroperson.lis database
  • the listing in Andre Heck's astronomer homepages database
  • a link to an author search of the ADS Abstract Service

2) We have added a new item ("P") under the "Available Options" which links to a PDF version of the article available at other institutions (so far, recent volumes of ApJL and A&AS). This allows users to view and print the articles in a PDF reader such as acrobat, which is particularly useful for those without postscript printers. It should be noted that these articles are sometimes very large so the transfer might be slow.

3) New data sources include:

4) We have continued to add new scans of articles so that we now have the following online:

v.271 - v.451#1
(8/83 - 9/95)
v.195 - v.270
(1/75 - 10/96)
v.80 - v.110#3
(1/75 - 9/95)
v.87 - v.108#3
(1/75 - 3/96)
v.2 - v.32#1
(11/74 - 4/96)
v.3 - v.10
(1976 - 1993)
v.11 - v.24
(1983 - 1994)

In addition, we expect to add several recent years of MNRAS very soon.

5) We intend to start making use of "HTTP Cookies" in the next few months to collect information about our users' navigation and search patterns within our site. Cookies offer a mechanism allowing us to track the sequence of documents that a particular user retrieves from our site, without having any knowledge of the user's identity, and without requiring any form of user ID or password assignement. This information is being collected only for the purpose of providing better service, and adding more custom features to our system, and will not otherwise be shared with any other institution or company. We plan to use the cookies to track which references a particular user has already retrieved. This will allow us to implement a "What's new" feature that lets users query, on an individual basis, for new documents that they have not yet seen.

Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments.

There have been a number of new additions to the abstract service in the last month. To summarize, we have added the following features and data sources:

 1) Three new online journals, back to 1975 (PASP, PASAu, and CoSka).
    RMxAA to go online next week.
 2) A&A, MNRAS, and PASJ to be scanned.
 3) Article email service.
 4) Object searches query NED in addition to SIMBAD.
 5) Changes in some bibliographic codes, especially PhD thesis numbering.
 6) Booleans within fields implemented as an option.
 7) Links to mail order options for articles when available.
 8) Exact author searches (this allows searching for first and middle 
 9) Group searches.
1) We have added scanned articles for three new journals, from 1975 until the most recent volume permitted by the journal publishers.

Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (PASP)
Proceedings of the Astronomical Society of the Australia (PASAu)
Contributions of the Astronomical Observatory Skalnate Pleso (CoSka)

In addition, we will add a fourth new journal early next week.

Revista Mexicana de Astronomia y Astrofisica (RMXAA)

2) We have received permission from Astronomy and Astrophysics (A&A), Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS), Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan (PASJ), Baltic Astronomy (BaltA), and Bulletin of the Astronomical Society of India (BASI). In addition, we will also scan the rest of ApJ (1975-1990). We are now working with two scanning companies to speed up the process of putting articles online.

3) We now provide the capability to email articles instead of downloading them through your WWW browser. This allows users with slow transfer speeds to have a new convenient mechanism to get the online articles by providing reliable asyncronous article transfer through internet electronic mail. All messages generated by our system conform to the MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) specification. This option is available from the page which lists "More Article Retrieval Options".

4) Object searches now query NASA's Extragalactic Database (NED) in addition to SIMBAD. This action is not visible to the user, but results in better search results as well as new references provided by NED.

5) We recently did an overhaul of the bibliographic codes which resulted in the assignment of many new bibliographic codes. This was done to make our codes more in agreement with those of NED and SIMBAD, and to ensure unique codes across the 3 databases. We still have some work to do on the Physics and Instrumentation database before this work is complete, but the end result will be much more reliable references.

If you currently have online documents which reference URLs on our system for PhD theses or conference proceedings, we suggest that you confirm that those links still work. We hope that this will be the last time we change significant numbers of bibcodes.

6) There is now an additional setting in the abstract query form which allows users to turn on boolean searching within fields. When selected, this allows interpretation of words such as "and", "or", and "not" as boolean operators within the field.

7) There is a new link under the "Available Items" column in the abstract query result page, marked "M", which pops up a "Mail order" form for requesting a copy of the bibliographic reference from organizations (not ADS) that offer this service for a fee. Currently this works only for SPIE publications, though we expect to add other organizations in the future.

8) A new option for searching the "exact" name of authors is now available by selecting the link on top of the author search field in the abstract query form. The new form returns a list of matching author names and/or LPI object names. You can select authors from this list by checking their checkbutton. A new query is constructed from the list of selected author or object names. This query runs without author synonym replacement and returns only references that match the exact author names selected. This is useful when searching for the publications of somebody with a popular first and/or last name, since it allows you to specify a middle initial or name. The capability of searching the list of exact author names is also provided in the "List Query" form.

9) Large groups or organizations may submit lists of bibliographic codes which are reference lists for their project or organization. We provide the capability to search by group which allows selection from within all papers assigned to a specified group.

Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments.

The ADS WWW Services will be unavailable from 0700 to 1000 EST on Thursday, March 28, 1996 while we upgrade the server. We are sorry for any inconveniences this may cause.

As part of the upgrade, the server's IP address will move from to This should not cause any problems to our users, but may confuse some browsers or DNS resolvers that have cached the old IP address. If you find problem connecting to us after the upgrade, please quit your browser and restart it.

We've made a number of new additions and changes since the last What's New:
New this month:

Things we're working on:

We've also received almost 50,000 references (most include abstracts) from SPIE, the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers, for inclusion in our Instrumentation database. These should be online sometime in the next few weeks.

As always, if you have any questions or problems, please contact us at

We have upgraded our server to a SPARC 1000, so users should see an increase in the speed of searches. If you get any errors using the Abstract Service, please try to quit your browser and enter again to make sure there are no instances of the old server address cached.

If any of your links to the Abstract Service use the hostname "", please change them to use "" instead.

We have finished scanning and putting online ApJ articles from 1990 through June, 1994. Together with the 20 years of ApJL articles, this brings the total number of articles currently online through the Abstract Service to almost 12,000. We will next scan and put online more recent ApJ and ApJL volumes, followed by 20 years of AJ, PASP, PASAu, Revista Mexicana, and Skalnate Pleso (Slovak). We hope to finish this by the January AAS meeting. We will then continue with the scanning of earlier volumes of ApJ.

We have also added the following options to our query form:

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.

We have three new features to announce this month:

1) Physics and Geophysics Abstracts On-Line

The ADS project is pleased to announce a second major expansion to the Abstract Service with the availability of the ADS Physics and Geophysics Abstract Service.

We now have a third dataset of Physics and Geophysics abstracts containing over 200,000 abstracts. This database is searchable in the same way as the astronomy and space instrumentation abstract services; by author, keywords, title words, and text words. Links to full journal articles, original author abstracts, and author notes, where we have them, are also provided.

2) PCL printing of articles

For those of you who do not have access to a postscript printer, we have added an option which allows printing of the scanned journal articles on PCL printers. If you have problems with this feature (since there are many versions of PCL available), please let us know so that we can modify our software to work better.

3) "What's New" service

We have enhanced the ADS Abstract Service with the capability to return only abstracts that have been included recently. This service allows the user to find out what references relevant to his or her favorite query are new in the ADS abstract database. The service can be used through the WWW or through email, and can be automated to return all new entries within a specified period (such as the last month).

More details on the What's New service are available here. For more details about the email access, send an email with the message body "help" to

As always, if you have any questions or problems, please contact us at

The ADS project is pleased to announce the addition of a Fax-back feature to the abstract service. Users may now choose to fax themselves a copy of any of the scanned articles which we have included in the abstract service. We anticipate this service being used mostly by users who do not have a postscript printer.

Note that this service is available only for fax numbers in the United States.

In the last few months, we have made several improvements to the ADS Abstract Service.

Foreign Languange Synonyms: We have created synonyms for titles which are in the system in languages other than English. For example, a search for "ciel" will now return titles which contain the word "ciel" or its translation, "sky". This feature may be disabled by turning off the "Synonym Replacement" in the settings.

Word Translations: We have enabled automatic translations for words and objects which have multiple spellings. For example, a search for the word "X-ray" will now return instances of "X-ray", "X ray", and "xray". As always, word searching is case-insensitive. A number of common objects also have translations enabled, so that a search for "M 31" will return only references containing "M 31" or "M31" and not references containing the "M" and "31" in other contexts. The following catalogued objects are translated: M, NGC, 3C, 3CR, 4C, UGC, IC, ABELL, MKN, N, and PKS.

Journal Filter: We have added the capability to filter by journal. By using the checkboxes below the "Send" button, users may choose to have returned references from all journals (the default), only refereed journals, or only specified journal(s). To request specific journals, the correct abbreviation must be used (i.e. "ApJ", AJ", "PASP", etc). The list of journal abbreviations is available for consulting.

In addition, we have continued to update the astronomy abstracts approximately monthly with the NASA/STI data, Simbad data, and data from the journals (ApJ, PASP, A&A). We will soon be adding data directly from AJ, as well as abstracts from the BAAS.

The scanning is continuing on the ApJ journals. We are still expecting to have the full ApJ articles online by the end of the summer.

Please send any comments or questions to us at

Thank you.

Instrumentation Abstracts On-Line
The ADS project is pleased to announce a major expansion to the Abstract Service with the availability of the ADS Instrumentation Abstract Service.

We now have a parallel dataset of Instrumentation abstracts containing almost 275,000 abstracts pertaining to space instrumentation, astronautics, and engineering. This database is searchable in the same way as the astronomy abstract service; by author, keywords, title words, and text words. Links to full journal articles, original author abstracts, and author notes, where we have them, are also provided.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact us at

ADS Digital Library
The ADS project is pleased to announce the availability of the ADS Digital Library. We are scanning and putting online books related to astronomy for browsing and printing on demand. We currently have the following three books available and more will be added soon:

If you have any questions or problems, or would like to contribute a book, please contact us at

Original Abstracts:
The Abstract Service now contains original author abstracts from two sources: These abstracts are currently returned with the abstract information because no NASA abstract exists for them. When we do get the NASA abstract, we will return the NASA abstract by default and provide a link to the original author abstract.

In addition, we now also provide a link in the abstract to an author note, when one has been submitted to us. This is a useful way to incorporate errata. The author notes should be submitted through our forms interface.

These notes can be plain text or fully formatted html documents. They can include comments about the abstract, clarifications or more extended descriptions, and links to other abstracts and documents. We reserve the right to edit or reject any author notes that are inappropriate.

Author Synonyms:
We have also added the capability of doing author "synonym" searches. This was implemented to correct for misspellings of author names and to correctly search for authors who have used different full names in their publications.

For searches of an author by first name + last initial, the synonym searching may be turned off if desired (it is on by default). For searches of an author by last name only, it is always turned on. If you know of an abstract which has an author whose name is spelled incorrectly, please let us know.

DOWNTIME: All ADS services will be unavailable from 5:00pm EST, Friday March 3rd to 10:00pm EST, Saturday March 4th due to scheduled work on the power lines at SAO. Please plan you work accordingly.

The ADS project is pleased to announce the following two updates to the Astrophysics Science Information and Abstract Service:

1) We have updated the data content of the database and it now contains approximately 210,000 abstracts, current to 1/95. We have rewritten some of the software so that we can now keep the abstract database up to date on a monthly basis. In addition, new software allows us to provide original author abstracts where we can get them from the journals.

2) We have added the 10 previous years of ApJ Letters (from 1975 to 1986) and now have access to approximately 6000 ApJL articles from 1975 to October, 1994.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact us at

The Abstract Service will be unavailable at the following times due to a failing disk drive and an electricity upgrade:

Thank you for your cooperation.

Currency of the ASIAS database

We have now incorporated scanned images of ApJ Letter articles since 1986 into the Abstract Service. Any abstract for which we have a scan of the full journal article will now contain a link to the new ASIAS (Astrophysics Science Information and Abstract Service) Article Service in the window which gives the abstract of the article. Alternatively, you can access the Article Service directly which allows you to search for articles by journal, volume, and page.

We expect to add the 1975--1986 ApJ Letter articles in a few weeks. We expect to add ApJ articles (back to 1975) in a few months.

We have created an abstract service mailing list so that we can send out messages such as new features and new data. If you would like to receive occasional email messages from us, please sign up.

Here is an important announcement about restructuring that is taking place within the ADS project.
The WWW abstract service now provides the capability for feeding back the results of one query into a new query (Relevance feedback).

Here is an important announcement from NASA/STI, the supplier of these abstracts.

To contact the ADS abstract service, please e-mail to