Custom queries are used to SEARCH for articles with particular authors, title and abstract words.
In addition, search results can be filtered by refereed (nor non-refereed) publications and
publication date. Results can also be assigned custom weightings and be sorted to the searchers
preferences. The ADS user guide can be found here.
'Wild' characters allow you to specify how the search is performed. For example, ^ and $, limit author
searches to 'first', 'last' and 'only'.
Notice the "Score Title" ranks your results according to how closely the article matches your search criteria.
- Find all articles first authored by Max Pettini on the 'interstellar medium' between 1975 and 1985.
- Find all articles that Mark Balcells and Peter Erwin authored before 2006 on 'galaxy bulges'.
ADS provides a Bibtex reference (we'll return to this later in the course).
Most journals require an online subscription for you to read the article there and then. RIT does not subscribe to
all online journals, e.g., Nature. However, some of these are available in the library, e.g., Nature. Failing that
you can visit the UofR library, or if you are lucky, the author has also posted the paper to the Preprint Archive.
Reading papers can seem like a very daunting and, quite frankly, boring task. This is not surprising considering that
before you read the paper you will not understand what is it about, nor whether it will be relevant to you. This is normal,
but do not despair!
Do not READ the paper, absorb it. It is not a book. You do not have to read it word for word, cover to cover. You are unlikely
to retain what you read like this anyway; it will be a waste of time.
Be aware of WHAT you are reading: Refereed? Letter? Nature? Poster? Conference proceeding? This has a large bearing on the style
AND CONTENT of the paper itself.
Is the paper relevant? Do the abstract and title sound like what you are looking for? After reading the abstract you should know
whether or not it will be worth continuing.
Who are the authors? As you read more papers you will build up a sense of authors you agree with, and those you don't.
Understand the figures and data. By looking at the pretty pictures first, you gain an understanding of the direction of the paper
immediately. It is not always necessary to read the data reduction and results sections if the figures, tables and legends are presented well
and are clear (this we will return to later in the course).
The Introduction. When you are reading an Introduction, you are really asking yourself 'why is this work important?' If you don't know
by the end of it, the work is probably not important.
The Discussions. This is the most important section as it is where, typically, the authors will mull over their findings and relate it
to the gaps presented in the Introduction, and to future works.
Just because it is a 'paper' doesn't make it 'right'. There are rubbish scientists, just like there are rubbish artists and politicians.
Don't be afraid to be critical. There will come a time when you know someone is wrong, however, there are positive points to be found in most cases.
Can you write out the guts of the paper in 2 or 3 sentences?