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[SAO/NASA ADS]   What's New with the ADS Announcements: 1994-1997


We are pleased to announce the following ADS news this month:

  1. Reference links to Journals
  2. New G links to article GIFs
  3. Icarus Abstracts
  4. UMI PhD theses
  5. Faster Fax Server
  6. Physics Database Questions

Reference Links to Journals

The "R" links under the Available Items column of a results list now link directly to the reference section of the electronic journal where available (e.g. ApJ, A&A). This allows users to see the complete reference list of a given paper. As a reminder, the lists of "R" link references which are generated by ADS are often incomplete because we have only a subset of citations for a limited number of journals. Please use these reference lists only as guidelines, not for complete literature coverage.

New G Links to Article GIFs

For links to full articles provided by ADS, we have changed the link from an "F" to a "G". All remaining F links provide links to full articles in postscript or PDF format (depending on user preference and availability), usually provided by other organizations. Once we optimize the software, we will provide PDF and postscript versions for our scanned articles as well. We have added the conversion option to PDF on the "More Article Retrieval Options" page, but users are reminded that transferring the entire article in PDF can be slow and is intended for users with no better viewing or printing options.

Icarus Abstracts

ADS is now receiving abstracts directly from Icarus. Look for recent abstracts from that journal, including reference and citation links. We also point to their on-line electronic version and their on-line reference lists.

UMI PhD Theses

We have added approximately 6500 PhD Theses in astronomy given to us by UMI. We are in the process of eliminating the duplicates, and plan to provide links to document delivery order forms provided by UMI.

Faster Fax Server

We have revamped the ADS fax-back service by installing a new modem capable of 14.4K data transmission, by upgrading the fax server software, and by securing a phone line to be used exclusively for this service. Users should see improvement in response time and overall reliability as a result of the upgrade.

Physics Database Questions

The Physics database has not been regularly updated now for approximately two years due to a lack of source for physics references. However, the database does get used fairly regularly on a moderate level. We are considering discontinuing the database due to lack of new data, but wanted to get feedback from users.

  • Do you use the Physics database? If so, how often?
  • Were you aware that its contents are not current?
  • Will that change your usage of the database?

Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments.


We are pleased to announce the following ADS news this month:

  1. IAU Circulars Online
  2. New Datasets
  3. Improved Object Searches
  4. BAAS Journal Name Change
  5. New Japan Mirror URL
  6. Tips on setting preferences
  7. Scanning Update

IAU Circulars Online

In collaboration with the IAU Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams and the IAU Minor Planet Center, we are now including circulars in a timely manner into ADS. Once the software is in place, ADS will immediately index the circulars upon their release into the database so that a user searching for new circulars will find one within minutes of its release. The title, author, and object names will be freely available through ADS. The whole text of the circulars will be indexed by ADS so that they are found on searches, but the text itself will be kept by the CBAT/MPC and linked to by the ADS. Access to the IAUC are currently restricted to subscribers while access to the MPEC is not restricted.

New Datasets

In the past year, the size of the astronomy database has grown by 50%. In addition to the regular updates, we have been adding a number of new datasets in the last few months:

  • Helen Knudsen's "Astronomy and Astrophysics Monthly Index" (almost 50,000 new entries)
  • Library of Congress "QB" books (17,000 new entries)
  • Lunar and Planetary Institute reference list (6500 new entries)
  • Information Bulletin on Variable Stars (4500 new entries)
  • Revista Mexicana Conference Series (500 new entries)

We are also currently working on bringing some of the planetary journals online more complete (Icarus and JGR Planets).

Improved Object Searches

We have recently modified how we do object searches, giving users the option to select which object indexes to search for a given query. The default is to search the object indexes at SIMBAD and NED. Those users searching for planetary objects will probably want to search the LPI and IAU object indexes instead. There is very little overlap between these two groups of object indexes. Please note that unlike any of the other fielded searches, IAU objects are case sensitive.

BAAS Journal Name Change

In agreement with the American Astronomical Society and with SIMBAD at CDS, we have decided to change the abbreviation for references from the Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society to reflect the electronic publishing of the Bulletin.

Since 1992, abstracts have been submitted electronically, and referred to in the ADS Abstract Service by meeting number and session number (since we did not have a page number). The bibliographic code for those abstracts now contains the journal abbreviation of "AAS" instead of "BAAS". References containing the volume and page number will still be called BAAS. Many of these are in the system under both codes, and are therefore searchable by either bibliographic code.

This also allows us to include the meeting abstracts for the other divisions: the Division of Planetary Science (DPS) and the Solar Physics Division (SPD).

New Japan Mirror URL

The URL of the Mirror Abstract Service in Japan has been changed. The new (and permanent) URL is:

The Japanese mirror also contains a subset of the full article scans. We are testing the hardware there and will mirror the rest of the articles as soon as we can.

Tips on Setting Preferences

With the addition of more and more features, as well as the proliferation of mirror sites available, setting your preferences to maximize response can be useful. There are now preferences which can be set for the following:

  • GIFs for screenview of articles: the default is 4bit, 100dpi. Change to 2 bit, 75dpi if you're working from home or on a slow link.
  • Postscript for articles: Our full-text article links pointing to papers made available by other publishers (such as the AAS or A&AS) typically return a PDF file containing the entire electronic article (or a postscript version if the PDF source is not provided). When available, users may choose to have the postscript version returned instead via the postscript article preference setting.
  • Mirrors: Choose the mirror site with the best connection to your site for:
    • Articles (USA or Japan)
    • SIMBAD (USA or France)
    • AAS (USA or France) for electronic ApJ
    • Preprints (USA, Italy, or Japan)
  • Tables: Disable tables if you're working from home or on a slow link. This will cause search results to be displayed quicker.
  • Printing: The default is to print duplex if your printer supports it. Although this can be disabled, we encourage the use of duplex printing to save trees. If all users used duplex printing, approximately 100,000 sheets of paper per month would be saved.

Scanning Update

Our new scanning company has started producing scans, and we have significantly increased the disk space on our server. We expect to be adding many new scans over the next few months. We have already added scans for the Bulletin of the Astronomical Society of India (BASI), and will continue with older ApJ and A&A volumes next.


We are pleased to announce another mirror site for the Abstract Service at National Astronomical Observatory (NAO), in Tokyo, Japan. Users in Asia may wish 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.

Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments.


We are pleased to announce the ADS/LANL Preprint Service.

In cooperation with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, we have created an index into their astro-ph preprints and made it available through our abstract service with the same searching options as our literature databases.

There are a few differences between the preprints and the published literature services:

  • New preprints are retrieved and indexed every night starting at midnight (EST).
  • The preprints expire 6 months after their entry date.
  • The table-of-contents search (TOC_QUERY) for preprints returns either the preprints that were last entered, or all unread preprints, depending on the user preferences for ToCs.

Also new this month are "N" links which point to source information for references available from the NASA Extragalactic Database (NED).


We are pleased to announce the following new features in ADS:

  1. Complete IBVS entries
  2. "P" links merged with "F" links
  3. More on preference saving

Complete IBVS Entries

In cooperation with the IBVS (Information Bulletin on Variable Stars), we have added the complete set of IBVS references since 1961 to the database. Currently, this includes only authors, titles, and object links where appropriate. In the future, we will add recent abstracts, as well as electronic links to datasets maintained by them.

"P" Links Merged With "F" Links

We have merged the "P" links into the "F" links. The "F" link now contains the full journal article, either in our paginated format (for everything but recent ApJ, ApJL, ApJS, and A&AS) or in PDF format (for the rest). This was done in order to use the "P" to link to data from the Planetary Data System (PDS) which we plan to add to the system in the near future.

More on Preference Saving

We are continuing to tweak the process of saving one's preferences through WWW cookies. In particular, we are trying to propogate the settings to our mirror site in Strasbourg. If you get stuck in a cookie setting message, please try to reload the page which caused the error. Thank you for your patience while we refine this process. Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments.


We are pleased to announce the following new features in ADS:

  1. New TOC page
  2. Wildcard searches
  3. We need Journals!

New TOC Page

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.

Wildcard Searches

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:


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.

We Need Journals!

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


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

Phrase Searching is Here!

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.

Citations and References Linked Into the System.

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.

Setting Your Own Preferences

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.

A&A, PASJ, and BaltA Online -- Scanning Summary

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.


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

New Starting Year Default for Searches

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.

Soundex and Phonix Searching for Author Names

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.

Scanning Summary

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.


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

New Options for Search Logic for ADS Abstract Service!

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.

Phrase Searching and Soundex Searching on the Way

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.

New Options for Synonyms on A Word-by-word Basis

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.

Direct Links to Your Own Papers and Articles

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: 

Abs_doc Subdirectory Obsolete

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.

Scanning Summary

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.


HAPPY 90th BIRTHDAY to Fred Whipple! And thanks for his 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

Author Links

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

PDF Article Links

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.

New Data Sources

New data sources now in ADS include:

  • GCPD: We have added references from the General Catalogue of Photometric Data, maintained at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland offers access to published photoelectric data (more than 400,000 entries) from 3370 papers and information on the photometric systems used.
  • MNRAS: We have added abstracts for all MNRAS articles from 1995 to present.
  • Solar Physics: We have added references for the last several years.
  • Astrophysics & Space Science: We have added references for the last several years.
  • New Astronomy: We have added abstracts from the first version of this electronic journal.

New Articles Online

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

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

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

Cookie Implementation Information

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.


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 initials)
  9. Group searches

Three New Online Journals, Back to 1975 (PASP, PASAu, and CoSka). RMxAA to Go Online Next Week

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).

A&A, MNRAS, and PASJ to Be Scanned

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.

Article Email Service

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".

Object Searches Query NED in Addition to SIMBAD

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.

Changes in Some Bibliographic Codes, Especially PhD Thesis Numbering

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.

Booleans Within Fields Implemented As An Option

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.

Links to Mail Order Options for Articles When Available

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.

Exact Author Searches

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.

Group Searches

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.


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:

  1. The Query Form page has been modified so that it no longer contains the NASA/STI Keyword field. This was done because STI can no longer provide data to us due to budget cuts. Therefore, any keyword searches are going to necessarily return old data -- nothing new since about 6/1995. We have indexed all the NASA/STI keywords (as well as all other Keywords such as those from ApJ and AJ) into the abstract text words, so you can continue to search for your favorite keywords in the abstract text field and get the old data plus any new references to those words. If, for some reason, you want to search by NASA/STI keywords, we will continue to provide a legacy form but understand that for keyword searches your data will be outdated. Note that we are continuing our efforts to find additional sources of new data.

  2. For bibliographical references that contain information about astronomical objects, we now provide links to their SIMBAD object pages (look for the letter "S" in the "available items" column returned by an abstract query). This link provides identifiers from the SIMBAD database about all objects which are discussed in the paper as well as their basic data.

  3. In cooperation with the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), we now provide searches for object names for their abstracts. This is part of our ongoing effort to increase the quantity and quality of planetary data in the abstract service.

  4. We have added scanned AJ articles since 1987. We currently have over 16,000 articles online and are adding more on a regular basis. These include:
    • ApJ Letters from January 1975 to date.
    • ApJ from January 1990 through February 1995.
    • AJ from January 1987 through February 1995.

  5. 50,000 SPIE abstracts on-line! We have added almost 50,000 SPIE abstracts to the Instrumentation database. These are abstracts from all proceedings of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers since 1991.

  6. The Physics and Geophysics Database is not currently updated on a regular basis due to lack of a source for new physics abstracts. If you know of potential sources (i.e. journal editors) for physics journals, we would be pleased to hear from you.


New this month:

  1. The option to select out a journal. For example, to omit BAAS references, enter "-baas" in the "select journals:" field.

  2. Abstracts and image data from the NCSA Astronomy Digital Image Library (ADIL) project. The data are linked with a "D" in the Available Items column.

  3. ApJ articles from July '94 to December '94.

Things we're working on:

  • ApJL articles from November '94 to July '95 (when they started electronically).
  • AJ articles back to '75.

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.


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:
  • the option to return abstracts in bibtex format (selection done at the bottom of the results list).
  • the ability to filter on entry date (when the data was put into our system)
  • the ability to filter on datatype (if it has an "F" or a "D", etc, in the list of available items)
  • the ability to save a query (including settings and filters)

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


We have three new features to announce this month:

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.

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.

"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


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.

Other News

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.


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.


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:

  • Handbook of Space Astronomy and Astrophysics, by Martin V. Zombeck (Cambridge University Press).
  • Annals of the Astrophysical Observatory of the Smithsonian Institution, Volume I
  • Annals of the Astrophysical Observatory of Harvard College, Volume VIII

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:
  • A&A and A&AS (since 1994)
  • Contributions Astronomical Observatory Skalnate Pleso (CoSka) (3 volumes from 1993 and 1994)

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.



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.


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

  • Monday 13 February 1995 12:00 -- 15:00 EST
  • Saturday 04 March 1995 06:00 -- 18:00 EST


Currency of the ASIAS Database

Unfortunately there is currently a problem with the currency of our abstracts. The reason is that NASA/STI (Scientific and Technical Information program) has terminated their old contractor for the abstracting in late 1993. The new contractor was selected during 1994, but is still not in full production mode. NASA/STI told us that by February, 1995 the abstracting should be up to full speed.

In the meantime we are looking for alternatives. We are trying to get the original author abstracts for the ApJ and ApJ Letters. We are negotiating with the AAS and the University of Chicago Press (the publisher of the ApJ) to send us these abstracts. As soon as we have them in electronic form, we will index them into our system.

We do at this point have the list of authors and titles for all the ApJ and ApJ Letter articles. We are in the process of modifying the abstract service to index these together with the rest of the abstracts. This will allow at least searches for titles of articles, if not for the full abstracts. This, together with the full articles of the ApJ Letters that are now available, should get the ASIAS service more up-to-date in the very near future.

We also would like to get abstracts from other journals. I would like to solicit your help for that. If anybody has contacts with any of the other journals and can help us in negotiating access to abstracts, I would appreciate it very much. I am also looking for permission to scan full journal articles from other journals, similar to what we do for the ApJ Letters right now. I would appreciate any help that I can get.

Guenther Eichhorn<br> Project Manager<br> Astrophysics Information and Abstract Service


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.


The ADS Project Scientist has an important announcement about the 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).


The NASA Scientific & Technical Information Office has an important announcement about the creation of abstracts used in the ADS.

View Recent Announcements