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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Using the Scopus API - 2: Scopus Advanced Search Features

In part one of this exploration of what you can do with the Scopus API I looked at how to set up a basic Scopus search box on your site. There is plenty more that can be done to configure the search form to do what you want it too. Indeed you may as well let people use Scopus itself unless you are going to add some value by tweaking it one way or another. In the Scopus documentation there is a brief mention of the advanced search features, but this appears in the 'prerequisite knowledge', so there was not felt to be a need to explain what these features might enable for you.
In fact many people may never have bothered to investigate these features, unless they found a particular need that was not being met by the basic and helpful Scopus interface.
Design requirement
First let us set up an imaginary design requirement, so that we can see if the advanced search features in Scopus can help us at all. A University wants to showcase its research output, particularly where these articles have been highly cited. It would be useful to be able to track this for particular years.
Scopus Advanced Search features.
Scopus has an Advanced Search tab which allows you to build up a query using a combination of codes, operators and values.
There is a little example offered as a guide:
ALL("heart attack") AND AUTHOR-NAME(smith)
TITLE-ABS-KEY( *somatic complaint wom?n ) AND PUBYEAR AFT 1993
SRCTITLE(*field ornith*) AND VOLUME(75) AND ISSUE(1) AND PAGES(53-66)
To work out what this query does, it is worth looking again at the Scopus Advanced Search page and the help it provides. There is a list of all the fields you can use in a query. Clicking on one will cause an explanation with an example to appear beside the list.
So, 'TITLE-ABS-KEY' is useful for:

As you type Scopus offers code suggestions.
Double click or press "enter" to add to advanced search.
Name: Compound Field

A combined field that searches abstracts, keywords, and article titles.

For Example:
Entering TITLE-ABS-KEY("heart attack") will return documents with "heart attack" in their abstracts, article titles, or keyword fields.

TITLE-ABS-KEY is the Basic Search default search field.

There is also a help guide which lists all the codes for you.
That just leaves '?' and '*', which are common enough characters in boolean searches for any individual character and any string of characters.
Identifying an Institution
Scopus records the 'affiliation' of the authors in its citations. Affiliations will change over time as people move jobs or take on new involvements. An entomologist may be affiliated to a University and the 'Bumblebee Conservation Society' at the same time. Affiliated organisations themselves might appear more than once in the database, confusingly.
Using the Scopus Affiliation Search will help you to find the AF-ID for your institution. The number for 'De Montfort University' is 60017098, for example.