The Collection of
Computer Science Bibliographies

Help on the new, experimental search interface for the Computer Science Bibliography Collection

You can search the bibliography collection for references or for bibliographies. This search interface uses the MPS Information Server.

The bibliographies are hierarchically structured and a search at any point in the hierarchy will only search the contents of the bibliographies contained in that subtree. Thus, if you are searching at the very top you search the complete collection, whereas if you descend to the bottom of the hierarchy you only search a single bibliography.

Query Syntax


Only alpha-numeric characters are indexed, except when two words are connected by a '-' or a '/' and one of the words consists of only one letter (e.g. CM-5).

When you want to search for terms that do contain non-alphanumeric characters then decompose the term into its alphanumeric pieces and use the ADJ operator to connect them.

Case-sensitivity is automatic: One or more uppercase letters in a term will result in a case-sensitive match. That also means you should not use any uppercase letters unless you really want case sensitivity.

Wildcard operators

You can use the wildcard operators '*' or '?' at any position in a search word, except at the beginning.

The operator '*' matches any number of characters (also zero) whereas the '?' operator matches exactly one character.


Enclose phrases with doublequotes on both sides. The phrase will then be converted into an equivalent expression using the ADJ operator.


You can combine search terms and phrases in an arbitrary fashion with the following operators (listed in descending order of precedence):

OR At least one operand must match. Since the results are weighted according to relevance this operator can at times be used as a relaxed AND operator
AND Both operands must match.
NOT Only results where the second operand does not match will be returned. The NOT operator is binary operator!
NEAR[max-distance] This operator matches of the second operand occurs maximally max-distance words after the first operator. max-distance can be negative, which basically reverses the order of the operands
ADJ The second operator must appear after the first operator in a matching reference. This is basically equivalent to NEAR[1].

You can also specify a default operator that will be inserted between search terms that are not connected with any operator. This default operator is specified by appending one of the terms '{AND}', '{OR}' or '{ADJ}' at the end of the query, or by simply using the default operator selector in the search form.

If you do not specify any default operator, then the AND operator will be used as the default operator.


Query expression can be qualified with a field name, so that the search will only be performed within a subset of the reference test.

Currently, the fields "ti" (title), "au" (author) and "url" (url) are available. You can restrict searches to fields using the field=(expression) syntax or simply use the field selector in the search form.

Search Examples

au=(marchionini AND croft) {DATE>1990}
au=(marchionini AND croft) AND title=(computer AND encyclopedia) {DATE=1990}
au=(marchionini AND croft AND title=(computer AND encyclopedia) ) 
(((ti=a ADJ ti=b) AND (c ADJ d)) OR (e AND F*))
((company OR picnic OR term)  (apple OR computers))
(lowland gorilla AND adult male) OR (canopic jar)
information retrieval systems NOT wais
information retrieval systems NOT "wide area information servers"
((company picnic term) NOT (apple computers))
company picnic term NOT "apple computers"
company picnic term AND "apple computers"
company AND pinic NOT apple AND computers
marchionini NEAR[10] croft
marchionini NEAR[+20] croft
marchionini NEAR[-30] croft
search for "migration"
Höpfner or Hoepfner
If you are looking for names containing umlauts, accents or digraphs, you can use the umlaut or its ascii transliteration.
"object migration" and Lazowska
search for references to publications by "Lazowska" containing "object migration": the two words must appear exactly like that in a matching reference, a line break inbetween the two words would prevent a match.
object and (migrating or migration) and Lazowska
search for references to publications by "Lazowska" containing both "object" and "migration" anywhere in the reference.
(object or process) and migration and yr=1994
search for references that contain "object" or "process", and "migration" in the year 1994.
embed* and ((mesh* and hypercube*) or (tree* and butterfl*))
Search for embeddings of meshes in hypercubes or for embeddings of trees in butterflies. Use of asterisk catch plural nouns and varying verb forms.
parallel and url
Search for online publications on parallel processing.
You can search for authors using the initals. Just append their initials to their name in capital letters. The search should be made case-sensitive and partial word matching must be set. The above query would match both John Smith and James Thomas Smith.

NEW: You can now enter author names simply as "J. P. Smith" or "Smith, J. P." (without the doublequotes!) and these terms will be automatically converted to queries conforming with the above specification.

Important: Use wildcards wisely:
If you search for SmithJ, then you will not find the matches where the author is listed as J. P. Smith.
However, if you use the query SmithJ*, then the results will contain all authors with "J." as the first inital (e.g. "J. P. Smith", "J. A. Smith", "J.-H. Smith",...),

The Search Results

The results page that will be returned to you after a search indicates the search terms of your query in easily readable form. This will show you how your query expression has been interpreted by the query parser.

Then follow the references matching your query, either in BibTeX format or in "citation" format more easily readable for humans.

Any sequence of matches of entries from the same bibliography will be introduced by the name of the bibliography that can be used a direct link to the title page for that bibliography.

The BibTeX entries are rendered in HTML with the matching words highlighted and any URLs in the entry made into a clickable link. That allows you to immediately access that paper if a reference contains a URL to the online version of the paper.

If you save the page to a file in plain format (not HTML) you will obtain perfectly valid BibTeX references that can directly be used with LaTeX or merged with your own bibliographies.

Rendering of results:

The matching entries will be reduced to the bare bibliographic necessities and rendered like an entry in a literature list. Note, that wou will not see any possible abstracts and any other information beyond what is necessary to locate a paper version of the publication.

The advantage of this format is that the list of matching entries is shorter and therefore somewhat easier to browse..

Please note that the links from the citations to the corresponding entry in BibTeX format are not persistent, that means that at some time later the links might point to BibTeX entries that do not correspond to the references any more. So please, do not save these links (recognizable by the sequences of many strange characters) in another HTML file since they will be invalidated soon.

This format displays the full BibTeX entry, including all the available information that might be missing in the citation format (abstracts, keywords, annotations). The BibTeX entry can be easily transferred into your personal BibTeX bibliography using cut&paste.

Some references also contain forward or backward crossreferences to papers citing the paper or cited by the paper. These crossreferences are rendered as live searches that display the crossreferenced publication.

The Database

The search database consists of all the bibliographies in the bibliography collection in slightly modified form (see below). The complete database including indices consumes about 2 GBytes of disk space.

The search database differs from the bibliographies in the collection in the following respects:

The database contains only about 75% of the references in the bibliography collection, the other 25% are automatically detected duplicate entries. Therefore you will not get as many redundant references as results of your search.
Many bibliographies in the collection define text macros (@String abbreviations) and use these macros in the fields of references. Those abbreviations have been expanded for the purpose of searching, such that the words in those macros are also indexed and can be searched for. Furthermore, the references returned as search results contain the complete information: there is no need to find the definitions of any macros occurring in a reference.
Some bibliographies in the collection use the BibTeX feature of crossreferences and thereby omit some information in the references. These crossreferences have been expanded for the purpose of searching which improves the search a lot.

How to speed up your search

There are two reasons why searches might take a long time:

You are searching at a very busy time on our server when many users search simultaneously.
The busiest time is between 3pm and 6 pm local time, try to avoid these times. You can also look at the access statistics to find out more about the server load.
The query is not worded optimally or the options are not set optimally.
There are a couple of things you can do to make your query more efficient:
Use only the most significant words in your query, omit very common words such as of, the and the like. Also fequent words such as computer, system, ... will slow down the search.

What to do if you did not find anything (improving your query)


If you still did not succeed, you should try to

If you tried all of the above and still could not find what you were looking for then the bibliography collection probably does not contain it. The best solution is to create a bibliography relating to the topic you are interested in and to contribute that bibliography to the collection.

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