Chesnutt Library Blog

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Database of the Week - MathSciNet

MathSciNet is an electronic publication offering access to a carefully maintained and easily searchable database of review, abstracts and bibliographic information for much of the mathematical sciences literature. Over 80,000 new items are added each year, most of them classified according to the Mathematics Subject Classification. Authors are uniquely identified, enabling a search for publications by individual author rather than by name string. Continuing in the tradition of the paper publication Mathematical Reviews (MR), which was first published in 1940, expert reviewers are selected by a staff of professional mathematicians to write reviews of the current published literature; over 60,000 reviews are added to the database each year. Extending the MR tradition, MathSciNet contains over 2 million items and over 700,000 direct links to original articles.

MathSciNet has a very easy to navigate interface with simple tabs covering the main areas of the database. The tabs include Publications, Authors, Journals, Author Citations, and Journal Citations. You can search Publications by using one or all of the four search boxes provided. Among the many options for search terms in the search boxes are Author, Title, Journal, Review Text and MSC primary. MathSciNet allows you to limit your Publications search by Time Frame and Publication Type. Author searches the author database and returns authors identified uniquely according to their publications as well as a listing of name variations. Journals searches the MR journal database and returns a journal or list of journals with links to bibliographic information, websites, and issues listed in MathSciNet. Author Citations returns up to 10 items ordered by the number of matched references in MathSciNet reference lists. Journal Citations returns information about citations to the journal of interest based on matched reference lists from MathSciNet.

An author search for publications by one of Fayetteville State’s math professors, Dr. Bo Zhang, yielded a list of preferred author names. By passing the cursor to the left of the name a sample of the publication appears containing citation information. By passing the cursor over the actual name you can then choose to View Publications, Refine Search, find Co-Authors, establish Collaboration Distance or make a Link. Once you select the preferred name, in my sample search I selected the first Zhang, Bo¹, a list of his publications appear. Select a result and you can choose to view or print the PDF version of the article, save it to your Clipboard, view the Journal or view or print the abstract and citation. In some instances some of these options are not available.

While MathSciNet sounds like an intimidating name for a database (at least to the mathematically challenged such as me) no math skills are necessary in order to search the database. It gives you several options for searching and, if you do get stuck, the Help link gives you tips on how to make your search better.

Source: MathSciNet

Linette Neal, Reference Librarian


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