Search tips for using INSPIRE (mainly with SPIRES-style syntax)

The three search interfaces

Line search interface on the main page offers the greatest control and flexibility.

Easy search interface offers a straightforward way to search INSPIRE.

Advanced search interface offers a way to do precise searching using a variety of fields.

Search basics: SPIRES-style vs. Invenio keyword style


Invenio keyword style (Google-style)

SPIRES-style searching is activated by starting your search with "find" or simply "f". In certain cases INSPIRE recognizes that you're using an index term, e.g. "a polkinghorne" would give the same result as "find a polkinghorne". However, this doesn't work for all searches and using "find" or "f" is safer. Although we have tried to reproduce the traditional SPIRES syntax, there are some subtle differences - many are documented below. If you find other differences that are bothersome, let us know at

Invenio keyword style (Google-style), the native language of INSPIRE allows you to perform a variety of precision searches, including regex searching. More information on this can be found at the full search guide. Keyword searching is an easy way to combine index searching, e.g. "author:parke", with a free-text search, e.g. "quark" over any information in the record (title, abstract, references, etc.).

Combining the different search syntaxes might lead to incorrect results.

Searching on author name

Author searching

The flexible and sophisticated SPIRES author searching also works in INSPIRE. You can write author names as either "j ellis" or "ellis, j" and they will give the same result. However, this won't work if the surname is a compound surname such as "Llewellyn Smith". In this case, searching should always be done using a comma, that is, in the form "family names, given name". The search "find a llewellyn Smith" would match authors listed as "Smith, L." in addition to the desired result. Using a period or full-stop (".") has no effect on the search.

To understand how name searching works, consider the following table in a world with three physicists named John R. Ellis, Jane Q. Ellis and Peter James Ellis. Including a middle initial will restrict the search to match only on records that also have the middle initial. Including the full given name will restrict the search to match only on the initial or the exact given name.

Search Finds papers with name listed as
 j ellis  "J. Ellis", "J.R. Ellis", "J.Q. Ellis", "Jane Ellis", "John Ellis", "Jane Q. Ellis, "John R. Ellis", "P.J. Ellis", "Peter J. Ellis", "Peter James Ellis"
 j r ellis  "J.R. Ellis", "John R. Ellis"
 john ellis  "J. Ellis", "J.R. Ellis", "J.Q. Ellis", "John Ellis", "John R. Ellis", "P.J. Ellis", "Peter J. Ellis"
 john r ellis  "J.R. Ellis", "John R. Ellis"

The "first-author" search, "fa", is the author search that can be used to search on the first author exclusively.

The "exact-author" search, "ea", can be used to search on an author name exactly as it appears in the INSPIRE record. This search demands the use of the comma.

More about author searching   [Back to top]

We have a new author identification system. When you find a paper and click on an author's name, you will be taken to the author's publication profile page. Each author profile page is connected to a signature consisting of initials, family name and a number (e.g., j.r.ellis.1 for John Ellis) which can also be used for searching.

These pages are created by a program that identifies an author's identity based on name, co-authors, affiliation and other metadata. For most authors it does quite well. For others, e.g. John Smith, it does less well. Authors are able to help though by clicking the link "This is me. Verify my publication list." and claiming their own papers and removing other people's papers. In cases where authors have cleaned their publication lists, using the author publicaton profile page signature for searching will give you the most precise result.

Search by number of authors   [Back to top]

This index is useful for narrowing a search to theoretical papers which typically have less than 5 authors or experimental papers written by the full collaboration. More information on this latter point can be found on our blog post

Logical operators and truncation   [Back to top]

Logical operators:

Search logic: Logical operators (and, or, not) work left to right.


The asterisk wildcard can be used anywhere in the search term, as we have done in this example in the search for papers by O'Raifeartaigh.

Searches that become too general, e.g. "find t a*" will probably time out.

How do I specify journals?   [Back to top]

or coden searching

You can also search on the number of HEP citations to an article, whether or not the article is in INSPIRE.

Searching for journals in INSPIRE requires using either the standard short form of the journal name, e.g., "Phys.Rev.", or the coden, e.g. "PHRVA". The full set of journals in INSPIRE can be found in the Journals database.

Below is a list of some of the more popular journals in INSPIRE with their standard short name and coden.

The easy search provides a simple way to search on journal references.

Search on a journal with a space in the title requires quotes

Including when citation searching:

Search on a given volume series

Note that to narrow the search to Phys.Lett.B we have used trucation of the volume, as the "B" is part of the volume in INSPIRE. Using quotes can help when using truncation in this manner, "phys.lett.,b*".

How do I specify dates?   [Back to top]

All dates must be in the ISO format, yyyy(-mm(-dd)), e.g. "2003", "2003-06", "2003-06-27" or "nov 1997", "18 nov 1997". Dates such as "today", "yesterday", "last month" and "this month" also work.

There are also indexes for date-added (da or dadd) and date-updated (du dupd)

How do I find eprints?   [Back to top]

Note that the search term eprint is needed before "hep-ph/0504227".

Eprint numbers of the form yymm.nnnn must be written as "arXiv:yymm.nnnn"; the old-style hep-ph/yymmnnn do not need "arxiv:".

You can search on eprint type using primarch (primary archive, as opposed to cross-lists).

Searching for papers by experiments/collaborations   [Back to top]

Searches can be performed using either the collaboration name or the official experiment number.

Using author-count, "ac" described above can help narrow the result set to the full-collaboration papers (and exclude conference papers).

More information on experiments in INSPIRE can be found in the EXPERIMENTS database.

How do I find conference notes?   [Back to top]

LHC conference notes can be searched by report number, much like other preprints.

More information on searching for conference notes can be found on our blog post of December 2012.

How do I search by citation count:   [Back to top]

You can now search for papers with any number of citations using the search term "topcite".

Any number of citations can be searched on. You can also search a range such as topcite 60->173 (be careful not to include any blank spaces when doing this).

Citation searching on individual articles can still be done.

Calculating the h-index   [Back to top]
You can type in any search and select the format HTML citesummary from the list of available formats, and then hit . The h-index will be displayed at the bottom.
New citation operators: Articles cited by any other set of articles   [Back to top]

Papers Maldacena has cited.

The articles by Cvetic cited in eprint hep-th/9711200

Parke papers cited by Witten

New Citation operators: Articles that refer to any other set of articles   [Back to top]

S.J. Parke papers citing author Witten

Note the difference between this example and the one immediately above it. The "citedby" example finds the papers of Parke that Witten cited while the "refersto" example finds the papers of Parke that cite Witten.

Papers citing hep-th/9711200 with nucl* in the title (nuclear, nucleus, nucleon, ...)

Papers by Witten citing either Lykken or Parke (Boolean left-to-right, "or" then "and")

Oxford papers citing papers with the string "muon" in the title

Or the entire journal.

Find citations to an entire journal

Nested searches are possible.

Find citations of papers that cite Maldacena.


Be aware that the refersto operator finds the number of papers citing a given set of papers. This is not the same as counting the total number of citations to those papers. The refersto result includes papers citing multiple papers within the target set, and lists those only once. If you want the traditional count of total citations summed over a set of papers, use the citesummary format, as described above.

"Refersto" can be a useful tool for finding recent citations to your work. For more information on this see our June 2012 blog post.
Full-text Searching   [Back to top]

Full-text search is currently available for all arXiv papers, many theses, a few report series and some journal articles.

Caption search   [Back to top]

You can also search for papers by entering keywords that are found in plot captions

or phrases

Caption searching applies mainly to eprints 2008-present.

Searching by Type-Code (tc)   [Back to top]
cConference paper
corework concerning HEP
noteexperimental note
pPublished (in a refereed journal)
proceedingscollected volume of a conference proceedings
Searching by Field-Code   [Back to top]

Field-codes expand the familiar archive categories to non-eprints.

bBeams (accelerators)physics.acc-ph
gGravitation and Cosmologygr-qc
mMath and Math Physicsmath/math-ph
oOtherBiographies, annual reports, etc.
qGeneral physicse.g., cond-mat and quant-ph
whois / whereis   [Back to top]

whois beacom

whereis cern

Both these SPIRES-era searches are simply lookups to other databases.

Whois searches for people should be done in the HEPNAMES database, where either author searching as described above can be done, e.g. find a j beacom or simply beacom.

Whereis searches for places should be done in the INSTITUTIONS database, e.g. cern.

Displaying your results   [Back to top]

BibTeX: find a higgs

Regular LaTeX: find a higgs

CV LaTeX: find a higgs

INSPIRE currently supports a variety of output formats and sorting options that are available as drop downs once you have done a search.

The default output order is given by when records were added to INSPIRE. To order your results chronologically, choose "Sort by: year".

Under development

1. Country searching, either using the full country name or the internet code.

"find cc italy" or "find cc it"

2. HEPData searching.

Full search capabilities for HEPData content.

Known bugs

1. Searches with multiple dois or old-style eprint numbers fail because the slashes ("/") are interpreted as regular expression anchors for an Invenio-style search.

find eprint hep-th/9711200 or hep-ph/9501251

find doi 10.1103/PhysRevD.86.104042 or 10.1063/PT.3.1699

If you have questions or comments about these searches or if there is anything you would like to see added to this help page, contact

See also Help Central for other help documents.

Last modified: 2013-04-23