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SearchPlus@LANL: INSPEC® (A Brief Guide)
Updated Weekly


Link to pdf version of guide.

INSPEC is the leading citation database for the world's literature on all aspects of physics, electronics, and computing. Coverage begins in 1969 and is updated weekly. INSPEC scans papers from approximately 4,200 journals and 1,000 conferences. Books, technical reports, and dissertations also are included. INSPEC corresponds to the print publications: Physics Abstracts (coverage from 1903), Electrical and Electronics Abstracts (coverage from 1903), and Computer and Control Abstracts (coverage from 1966).

Selected Indexes
Click on the ? next to the name of the field on the search page for more details and examples about searching.

Index name
Author Enter the last name followed by a space (no comma) and use a space following each initial. saraswat k
Words from title, abstract, or subject keywords. Words separated by spaces are searched as a phrase. spread spectrum
Source Journals, conference proceedings, books, etc. where an article or paper was published. Searched as a phrase. ieee transactions
Title Title of the article, any words. Words separated by spaces are searched as a phrase. vlsi for image processing
Journal, Exact Exact journal title. Particularly useful for one-word journal titles. chaos
Search by words in a conference name. The year or place a conference was held can also be searched.
vlsi test <and>1998
Institution Institutional affiliation of first author or sponsoring organization. stanford agilent
Subject Subject categories assigned to articles. magnetic resonance
All fields Search all the fields of the database. Use when you want the broadest search possible. Searched as a phrase. polycrystalline
Astronomical object Search controlled designations for astronomical objects as acronyms, catalog number, or positional information. LMC 013022+30233
Chemical (1987-) Inorganic substances and materials systems. Use subject index for organic compounds. Case sensitive. GaAs H2SO4
Numeric data (1987-) Search controlled designations assigned for the quantities and units discussed in citations. See online help. Frequency 9.0E+08
Treatment The document type or publication type of the article. Review

Phrase searching

Phrase searching is the default when more than one word is entered in a search box. Truncation will be applied. Or, you can enclose a phrase in quotes for an exact search.

knowledge management retrieves those words together, in that order
laser ablation retrieves phrase laser(s) ablat(-ion,-ed,-ing)
"laser ablation" in quotes retrieves the exact phrase

Punctuation and special characters

  • Special characters (such as apostrophes, brackets, parentheses, pluses, minuses) are ignored. Use a space in place of these characters. For words containing umlauts, search without the umlaut as well as substituting the letter e for the umlaut, for example, Muller and Mueller.
  • Hyphens and periods are treated as spaces.

Author searching (For best results, use the Author lookup list)

  • Click on the Author lookup list above the search boxes to select author names and name variations.
  • To enter author names directly into the search box:
    • To search on author initials, follow the last name with a space (no comma) and use a space or a period following each initial.
    • To search author names containing hyphens or apostrophes, search with punctuation or substitute a space instead.

mitchell retrieves all authors with the last name Mitchell
mitchell j. retrieves all authors with the last name Mitchell and with the single or first initial J
mitchell j <or> mitchell j c retrieves all variations of J. C. Mitchell
o rourke or o'rourke retrieves a last name containing an apostrophe


  • Words of at least four characters are automatically "stemmed."
  • For an exact search, use double quotation marks.
  • The asterisk (*) is the truncation symbol or wild card. Use to denote no characters, or one or more additional characters beyond what was typed. At least two characters must precede the asterisk.

    microwaves retrieves the stem microwav (including microwave, microwaves, microwaving, etc.)
    "microwaves" using quotations retrieves the exact word
    microwa* retrieves everything beginning with microwa
    heat pump retrieves phrase heat(-s,-ed,-ing) pump(-s,-ed,-ing)
    "heat pumping" in quotes retrieves the exact phrase

Operators (Boolean, adjacency/proximity, order)

Terms entered in different search fields are combined with AND. Boolean operators can be used within a search field. Enclose operators in angle brackets: < >. Operators are searched in the order they are entered (left to right) unless parentheses are used. Placing a comma between words retrieves papers with occurrences of those words, ex vaporization,gasification,volatization. Results are ranked and papers containing all terms are listed first:.

AND requires that both terms be present membrane <and> catalyst
OR finds records containing either term chromium <or> lead
NOT excludes records containing a term fuel cell <not> membrane
NEAR/n finds words in order with n intervening words microwaves <near/3> lasers
ORDER when word order is important, use directly before <near/n> microwaves <order><near/3> lasers
PARENTHESES ensure that operations are performed in the correct order optic <and> (fibre <or> fiber)

Marking, printing, and downloading results

Marking citations: Mark desired items using the check boxes. To view, select "Marked records" in the left frame.
Printing citations: To print, "Choose level of detail" and the desired output format to "View in browser." Click "Submit" and then use the print feature of your browser.
Mailing citations: To e-mail results, "Choose level of detail" and the desired output format to "Receive in email." Enter your STANFORD email account and click "Submit."
Downloading citations: To download marked citations, "Choose level of detail" and the desired output format to "Receive in email" or "View in browser." Click on "Submit." If viewed in browser, then use the "Save as..." function of your browser to save records as displayed.

Weekly alerting service

Saved search strategies can be run against the weekly update to INSPEC. Results are emailed. To create an alert, click Save as alert/search from the search results screen.

Last modified: September 25, 2006

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