A few weeks back, we asked for your feedback on INSPIRE with a short survey. In a week, almost 600 of you helped us out: a great thank you! We learned a lot from you, and we would like to share a short summary of your replies and your suggestions.

You appreciate the speed of INSPIRE, which you find convenient to use and up-to-date. You are pleased that INSPIRE contains all papers relevant to HEP, and you find INSPIRE accurate in terms of author information and stats. You highlighted flexible search options and the variety of export formats, as well as links to arXiv and other sources.

The survey confirmed what we read in your messages: papers’ references and citation counts are most important. We have made a form available for you to correct references and citations, and we are working on making the process easier.

We are also improving how you can ‘claim papers’ and the recognition of special characters in order to refine the author disambiguation.

We are also aware that searching for exact journal articles is sometimes frustrating because of the way INSPIRE treats abbreviations and spaces. We will be working hard on these aspects of searching, as well as on other search suggestions you made. We will keep you posted on this blog and on our Twitter feed.

Our team has made significant progress in enhancing some features that you have mentioned, including ‘self cites’ and extended coverage of HEP-related papers from other fields.

The survey has helped us understand what is important for our users, and we always look forward to receiving your feedback. Feel free to contact us at feedback@inspirehep.net.

Last spring, when the SPIRES user interface was superseded by INSPIRE, we noted that SPIRES was still being used for some important backend data maintenance functions. As described in our posting about the life of an arXiv paper, this slowed our workflow as we had to update records in a semi-decommissioned SPIRES system before changes could propagate to INSPIRE. Some weeks ago, we took another step forward and INSPIRE has now taken over all backend functions from SPIRES. With INSPIRE as the only platform, we can work much faster to update records. In addition, working solely with INSPIRE will allow us to offer you better forms for corrections or additions to the database. Based on your feedback, we will develop even more useful tools to improve INSPIRE further. So if you have any comments or suggestions, don’t hesitate to write to us at feedback@inspirehep.net.

INSPIRE took over SPIRES frontend services already, SPIRES backend, however, is still running and in partial use in order to get content into INSPIRE as not all of INSPIRE’s backend tools have reached production level yet. While all auxiliary databases except HepNames are already maintained exclusively on INSPIRE, a lot of information for HEP is still generated on SPIRES’ side and updates are sent to INSPIRE several times a day. Bibtex keys are an example and it takes them several hours after the arXiv harvesting to show up on INSPIRE. Citation curation, however, is done on INSPIRE. Furthermore, the theses collection is maintained already completely on INSPIRE and long author lists using author.xml files such as those of the LHC experiments ATLAS and CMS are only handled on INSPIRE. Juggling two very different systems does introduce more delays than we would like, but no information is lost and it just might sometimes take a bit longer to appear in this transition phase. If we encounter this, we try to catch up on the information but we might miss some records. So whenever you as a user come across a record which you think is missing important information, we highly appreciate it if you let us know at feedback@inspirehep.net. We’ll not only be able to fix the record, but you’ll be helping us diagnosing glitches in this temporary procedure. We expect to be gradually able to move more and more backend processes to INSPIRE in the next few months, so those inconveniences will disappear.

It started in the late 1960’s as a database of particle physics literature, it went online as the first website in North America in 1991, on Thursday 26th April 2012, SPIRES frontend will be shut off. After decades of being the first address for literature search and connected services, SPIRES will go offline and the baton of providing tools for researchers in HEP will be entirely passed on to INSPIRE.

INSPIRE provides even more innovations based on the experience of SPIRES in managing the discipline’s information resources and in connecting and communicating successfully with the community. Besides the fact that it is faster than SPIRES, INSPIRE provides searchable fulltexts, complete reference lists for recent papers, much more detailed references and even plots extracted from arXiv articles. In addition, it offers author disambiguation for high-quality author profiles and better search capabilities. Furthermore, users can even improve the database by verifying their publications and correcting references.

The SPIRES backend, though, is still used for record creation and curation as the full workflow is not yet implemented on INSPIRE.

If you should encounter any trouble using INSPIRE or have any questions about our tools and features, don’t hesitate to contact us at feedback@inspirehep.net.

The departure of a tech titan is always big news in Silicon Valley. In one quiet corner of the Valley an upcoming departure is big news to a small group of people on two continents: Travis Brooks, the leader of SLAC effort in INSPIRE, is leaving.

In 2002, when Travis joined the SLAC Library, SPIRES was starting to show its age. The database that over a decade earlier became the first website in North America still played a vital role in HEP research but it ran on aging software making it slow for users and difficult to manage for developers. Indeed, it always seemed only one new release of Solaris away from no longer working at all! Travis worked tirelessly to do something about this and drag SPIRES into the 21st Century.

As a result of his efforts CERN joined with the SPIRES partners, DESY, Fermilab and SLAC to produce a new service that would meet the information needs of the HEP community using Invenio, a modern software platform. Work began in earnest on INSPIRE in 2007 and this month, September 2011, shortly before Travis leaves, SPIRES will be switched off and INSPIRE will take its place. The past four years have seen Travis contribute leadership to a collaboration of dozens of people, spanning 9 time zones, which seemed to require almost as much innovation in communication logistics as it did in database development.

All of us who have worked with Travis appreciate his talents, congratulate him on the success of launching INSPIRE, thank him for leaving the project in such good shape and wish him well with his new endeavors.

Heath O’Connell

SPIRES, the high-energy physics publications database, will soon be replaced by INSPIRE, a new service that offers many improvements over what users can currently access. On September 17 the SPIRES database will stop being maintained and users will be required to access INSPIRE for up-to-date information.

Among the improvements in INSPIRE are: faster and improved searches, author disambiguation, full-text searches of papers, searchable figure captions, and search of LHC experimental notes.

More information about the transition and the new capabilities of INSPIRE is available at http://www.projecthepinspire.net/ and by following @inspirehep on Twitter.

INSPIRE has built on research of what users most need and want by a team from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, CERN, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron, and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. SPIRES is currently maintained by SLAC, DESY, and Fermilab.

SPIRES started operating in 1974 and now receives more than one million searches per month. It has become a key resource for high-energy physicists in finding and understanding the scientific literature.

INSPIRE currently operates in beta mode at www.inspirebeta.net and approximately half of high-energy physicists have tried the new database. As more people use the new service, it is being tweaked to improve its functionality.

All physicists are encouraged to try out the INSPIRES database before SPIRES is no longer supported and provide any feedback they have through the forms on the site or to feedback@inspirebeta.net

On behalf of the INSPIRE team at CERN, DESY, Fermilab and SLAC, I’d like to welcome you to the INSPIRE blog.   Here our aim is to communicate with INSPIRE users about newly released features, plans for the service and other items that might be of interest to INSPIRE users.

We are, of course, spending most of our time building and running INSPIRE, so we won’t be posting here too often, but we hope to put something new here at least once a month.

For those who haven’t heard of INSPIRE, and how this replacement for SPIRES has come into being, you may find http://www.projecthepinspire.net informative.   The folks who are running this service are, as explained there, for the most part the same folks who ran SPIRES.  Additionally we have been joined by our colleagues at CERN, so you’ll be hearing from all four labs here in this space, as well as when you send notes to INSPIRE’s help and feedback desks.