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The repository search engine allows simple free-text queries. At the same time,  the nature of bibliographic searching differs from that of a web page searching. The repository enables precise, structured, search to build exact queries. This page lists several useful trips and tricks.

Please note that for some bibliographic fields, such as author and affiliation, a challenge exists: author names, and institution names, are not yet standardized, and are recorded as provided by participating publishers. Leveraging partnership with publishers, other services and the wider SCOAP3 community will constantly improve the quality of these data, as SCOAP3 moves forward.


Simple versus advanced search

The default search mode is simple search.  A familiar search box to enter your query. Note that this query can run anywhere in the article metadata (title, authors, affiliation). This is the “any field” default”. A query can be restricted to a given index, currently “affiliation”, “author”, “title” or “DOI”, with the drop-down menu. For example, articles on dark matter that are written by (or mention) Kolb, can be found as:

On the search results page you can add additional keywords to narrow your search, as mentioned below.
The advanced search interface provides you with explicit tools to combine several of these searches. Articles on the Higgs boson written by CERN authors together with authors from Italy can be retrieved as

Simple Search can provide you basically the same functionality by combining words as mentioned below.


Searching for words versus phrases

The default search mode is a search for wordsThis means that any whitespace you type is not significant, but is rather interpreted to mean “add an automatic boolean AND between words”, like Google does. For example articles which are about the Higgs and dark matter are found with:

The whitespace would be significant if you include it within quotes. You can also use double quotes to search for an exact phrase. This phrase search mode will match if and only if the given metadata field is exactly equal to the input pattern. For example, to find all documents written by Wang, Wei spelled exactly that way, type:


For more powerful exact searches you could use  regular expressions.

Boolean queries

We have already seen how whitespace adds a silent boolean AND in the search for words. The other boolean operators include:

+ AND higgs + composite matches all records that contain both the word higgs and the the word composite
higgs and composite ditto, syntactic sugar
– NOT higgs -composite matches all records that contain the word higgs but that do not contain the word composite
higgs not composite ditto, syntactic sugar
| OR higgs | composite matches all records that contain at least one of the words
higgs or composite ditto, syntactic sugar

Logical operations are automatically chained from left to right. For example, if you want to search for documents written by Moretti on Higgs or composite [models], write:

which looks for (higgs or composite) and Moretti. Note that this gives different results from:

which would search for (moretti and higgs) or composite.
The left-to-right chaining behaviour permits you to easily refine your search by adding/removing words with and/not or +/- operators. For example, to exclude the documents on collider from the above search, append -collider:


You can use parentheses in your queries to group boolean expressions together:

This query returns records containing either magnetic moment or electroproduction written by either Meißner or Meškauskas.
Note that you can use any number of parentheses in the query. Nested parentheses, such as foo AND (bar OR (fuux NOT
quux)), are also supported.

Special characters and punctuation

When indexing words, an attention is paid to index it both with and without punctuation, so that you should be able to search or terms containing special characters, such as N=2verbatim:

Note that the search is case-insensitive:

International characters

The search engine works with Unicode UTF-8 so you can type your query strings in any language stored in the database. For example, to find the documents written by Meißner, type:

Note that most special characters are transliterated, as well as accents removed, and the search above would also work with:

Word truncation

The word truncation is supported via asterisk (*) wildcard character. The wildcard instructs the search engine to match any number of characters in that place. For example, to find records that contain words asymmetry, symmetry,
supersymmetry etc, type:

Structured metadata search

It is possible to search within a given bibliograpic fields (such as author or affiliation) without using the drop-down menus. For example, to find documents from Italian authors

Of course, searches can be combined with boolean expressions (note the different results)

Regular expressions

If you know, or want to learn,  Unix/POSIX regexp syntax, it will be possible to do extremely powerful queries, including selecting all possible variations of the spelling of set of institution names. In the Simple Search interface you can trigger this mode by using slashes instead of quotes:

The above example will find all the titles that start by the letter E, followed by any number of any characters, and end by the letter s.
Another example could be an author search for an author expressed in the database as either Ellis, J or Ellis, John:

The regular expression search enables you to formulate very specific word proximity queries. For example all titles containing the words inflationary and universe that are separated by at most one word that does not contain the letter c:

More about POSIX regular expressions at Wikipedia regexp article.