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Issues in Science and Technology
Librarianship |
Summer 2001 |

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Science Librarian

Hagerty Library

Drexel University

dominymf@drexel.edu

**Jay Bhatt**

Engineering Librarian

Hagerty Library

Drexel University

bhattjj@drexel.edu

MathSciNet is one of a couple of databases (Zentralblatt für Mathematik und Ihre Grenzgebiete is the other one that comes to mind) whose focus is mathematical literature. MathSciNet consists of Mathematical Reviews and Current Mathematical Publications, which are products of the American Mathematical Society. However, the heart of MathSciNet is Mathematical Reviews. Mathematical Reviews first came on the scene in 1940 as the reviewing service for mathematics. That is, mathematicians provide signed reviews of math articles, conference proceedings, and books of mathematics research. Reviews are typically a few paragraphs long. These reviews are then organized and published as a collection. Also included are "Featured Reviews". These are commissioned reviews of books or articles that are considered especially important in their field. Although, initially, begun simply as a source of reviews of mathematical literature, but because of its extensive coverage, it also became a bibliographic tool of the discipline.

The other component of MathSciNet is Current Mathematical Publications. It is a subject index of bibliographic data for recent and forthcoming publications.

Facts and Figures:

- 38,632 items so far added in 2001;
- 1,799 journals covered;
- links to 161,150 original articles;
- 10,843 active reviewers;
- 360,731 authors indexed

The use of the term 'Anywhere' for keyword searching does not appear to be user friendly. Although one can search by the Mathematics Subject Classification code (MSC), for new users, this can be intimidating. A Subject term search without understanding the classification system can be difficult.

Boolean searches (OR, AND, NOT) are easy to construct to find relevant articles. A Wildcard character (*) can also be used while constructing search terms. Adjacency is assumed for multiple terms in a search field. Options to limit your searches by CMP (Current Mathematical Publications), MR (Mathematical Reviews) through 2001, by publication year and by document type (journals, books or proceedings) are also available. Search results are displayed as a list of bibliographic citations. Full Reviews can be selected from the citations retrieved.

The HELP function is very useful and easy to understand, however, for new users of the database, full names for abbreviations such as MR and CMP are difficult to find. Even in their 'HELP' page they are not mentioned in full. {Toolbar#} page explains these terms and other search options available.

Clicking on the MR number for citation 2 above, results in the review. The review can also be viewed in PDF format.

The full text of the original article is retrieved by clicking on the icon. It clearly illustrates how a full text article from ScienceDirect is retrieved by searching in MathSciNet.

This can be interpreted as

**Primary Classification****70**Mechanics of particles and systems**70F**Dynamics of a system of particles, including celestial mechanics**70F99**None of the above, but in this section**Secondary Classification Example****68**Computer science**68Q**Theory of computing**68Q45**Formal languages and automata

For more information on MSC, See {MSC Primary/Secondary System}.

The user needs to be cautious while searching for conference proceedings, since some of them are treated like a book or monograph, with the table of contents in the review field. Therefore, it is recommended that the author or title of a conference paper be searched in the Keyword field.

The new Clipboard feature now allows users to collect citations from multiple searches onto one file for download or display in ASCII or BibTeX format. The citations can be downloaded in BibTeX format. The use of the Clipboard feature requires the use of cookies.

From search results each review has two options to view the review in HTML or as a PDF image, followed by icons for retrieving the original article. The icon designates an active link to the article. Where links to articles are not available, there is often a link to the home page of the online journal, designated by . As a default for all articles, the icon will link to a request form for document delivery from NRC's Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI). Registration with CISTI is required.

In any record, authors of original articles may be linked. The number, for example, 45.13 that follows each record, is the Mathematical Reviews primary subject classification code applied to the content of the article. An example below shows a typical search result:

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