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 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

As a further step towards the SPIRES shut off, citation curation is now done completely on INSPIRE. The INSPIRE reference extractor is more powerful than the SPIRES algorithm and hence, there will be more correct references extracted automatically already from day one. Furthermore, this means that we are able to show new citations faster now.

During the last weeks, SPIRES overwrote references extracted on INSPIRE which has led – as some of you noticed – to citation fluctuations. But all correct citations will be back again. Moreover, we will continue to manually add references that our extractor did not catch. And by the way – as a user of INSPIRE, you can help us by adding and correcting references yourself via the reference update form (

Please send questions and feedback on references or other INSPIRE services and tools to

As some of you noticed, last week INSPIRE citation counts were momentarily unstable. This was due to the fact that, as part of the migration of data between SPIRES and INSPIRE, we cleaned up our citation database and deleted some “ghost citations”. This means either of two things had meanwhile happened: in a small number of cases the citing records were removed from INSPIRE or, most often, the citation list from arXiv pre-prints was updated to reflect either the published version of the article or the final re-submission of the pre-print. This is a common process which, with the migration between SPIRES and INSPIRE, had recently taken some backlog. Therefore, numbers might be slightly smaller now but no correct citation will be lost. In addition, better author disambiguation and authors claiming their papers help us calculate citation counts more accurately on INSPIRE.

Following the requests for more citation metrics we received we will soon provide more features for the citesummary.

For any questions and feedback on citations and other INSPIRE services, please contact us at

HEPJobs is the latest database to transfer over to INSPIRE:

HEPJobs is a well established, free-of-charge service, where people can post and find academic and research jobs of interest to the community in high energy physics, nuclear physics, accelerator physics and astrophysics. It allows thousands of people in HEP to connect as both employers and job seekers providing a natural and efficient match between job ads and viewers. Over the past decade we have listed over 8,000 jobs; in 2010 alone we added over 1,600 jobs. In peak season, our site gets over 5,000 hits per day.

We accept direct submissions of ads and also collect job listings from our partner site,, and the websites of universities and laboratories around the world.

Over the coming months we’ll be adding improvements such as the ability to post vacancies, modify or delete them or extend the deadline immediately through a web form without having to wait for a human operator.

Please send any questions regarding HEPJobs to

Heath O’Connell

We released a new search feature helping you to narrow down your search results. Author count (keyword: ac) allows you to refine a search to show papers with a specific number of authors or a range of authors. For example “ac 5+” will only show papers with at least five authors. “ac 1” as search syntax shows you for instance papers only by a single author without any co-authors.

Just experiment with the new searching possibilities, combine it with other search field specifiers, and tell us about your experiences at

Try for example:
find a ellis and ac 1
find a ellis and ac 5+
find a ellis and ac 3->10
find exp cms and ac 1000+

Telling a computer what to search for is a complicated business. Many of you are used to the SPIRES syntax with all its power and quirks. We’ve worked hard to retain the search syntax you are familiar with as well as allowing for a new Google-style search syntax.

What you might not realize about SPIRES syntax is that is actually the database query language. When you search SPIRES, you are searching the raw data. The language is actually incredibly powerful and only a few people even know all the possibilities it has. But because of that power, there are many ways to search and different people become fond of different ways.

Moreover, a search system must interpret the values you type in your search queries. It would not be reasonable to expect you to type query strings with raw data exactly as it occurs in the database. When you search SPIRES, the search system `massages’ the values you enter, trying to recognize various date formats, or incomplete article numbers, or trying to tell author first names from family names. INSPIRE uses different search technology than SPIRES also in this respect. To reproduce SPIRES search experience in INSPIRE therefore means not only to support SPIRES search syntax per se, but also to perform the SPIRES style of query value massaging, again with all its power and its quirks.

Most individuals, we find, use a small subset of functions of the SPIRES database query language, but different people tend to use different subsets.

That means we had to built in a translator for SPIRES query language into INSPIRE. Unfortunately, that is a daunting task with limited returns at some point. We know that some you use some fairly obscure feature of SPIRES that is rarely used overall and that would be extremely demanding to port to INSPIRE so we might not be able to provide every single search syntax that you use. However, we have scoured our search logs to ensure that a very high fraction of you will be able to use identical syntax as you transition from SPIRES to INSPIRE.

We urge you to try out the new INSPIRE syntax as well as you’ll find it is just as powerful and has extra features because of how the underlying Invenio engine uses the ideas of papers being described by logical fields and their values, as opposed to SPIRES method for handling search.

Take a look at the information about the new kind of search here, or just experiment with it yourself. Please let us know your search experiences, either with the SPIRES or the INSPIRE search methods. Hearing about your search experience will enable us to improve it!

Citations are a very core function of what we do; our users scrutinize them very closely and take the time to send us corrections. Thanks to this feedback we learned that some references and citation counts do not display correctly and we have been able to find the related bugs. It is our highest priority to solve these and we are working hard to fix them. The reasons for errors concerning references and citations are multifaceted:

  • Citation links displayed with a paper don’t give reliable results or references that are visible on a paper’s reference list don’t show up as citations for the cited paper. This is a problem of the indexing function of INSPIRE, not the data. Fixing this is a top priority for us and we are currently working on it.
  • The extracted reference list on a temporary entry misses a lot of references. We are working on a more robust reference extractor to address this issue, and we will reintroduce the %%CITATION in INSPIRE. This will help us extract references more accurately during this transition period, and as we expand our coverage of citations to books, conference papers and unpublished preprints.
  • Citations to conference papers are disappearing. We have already addressed this issue, and are working on new reference extraction methods that will allow us to track citations to conference papers more robustly; we will do this retroactively of course.
  • There has been a citation discrepancy between SPIRES and INSPIRE in many journals with volume letters. Much of this was cleaned up in SPIRES over the past six months already, but some discrepancies remain that are being given more focused attention right now.
  • Incorrectly formatted cites in SPIRES with ambiguous journal codens do not get counted in SPIRES, but may be counted in INSPIRE if they have a valid volume and page. There are some discrepancies and we are working on it.
  • We have a number of records that are blocked from updating in INSPIRE due to special processing of large author lists, or are otherwise curated currently only in Inspire. This will create a discrepancy in cite counts, for some records INSPIRE will be correct, and SPIRES incorrect. This is being addressed.

But don’t worry – no citation will be “lost” as we will reprocess the existing content. Once the bug fixing is done, we will also start introducing additional frequently requested data (e.g. the removal of self-citations). Please let us know if you have of any questions,

And by the way – as a user of INSPIRE, you can also help providing correct publication and citation lists: First – we have come up with a feature that allows you to claim your papers so that your publication lists show correctly on INSPIRE (you just search for your name at , choose your profile and follow the “verify your publications link”). Second – there is a new tool allowing you to correct references yourself ( Please check theses tools out and let us know what you think!

How do you know if a citation of one John Smith is the John Smith you’re looking for? What if it’s a citation of J. Li, an even more common name? The task of “disambiguating” two authors with the same name is a tough challenge for a computer, but INSPIRE is making great strides on this front. In fact, an algorithm has been developed to solve name ambiguities.

The secret of this algorithm is the use of an extended probability model to combine various properties of similarity. For example, a set of papers can be split into the papers about astrophysics versus the papers on B mesons. The person with the same name in both sets might be two different but identically named people so we’ll split the records along those lines and just give you the set you’re looking for based on other criteria in your search.

The key to success is to ask the authors of the research community to approve their publication lists. The motivation for asking the community is that we think the authors know best which publications are actually theirs. This hybrid approach of the algorithm and the users’ participation in the project allows for the most precise publication lists and stats. We now offer a link on the author page to make these kinds of corrections. If you do see something wrong, please take a moment to correct it so we can make the database more useful and informative for you and for everybody else.

INSPIRE is now out of beta-testing and in full production. SPIRES will soon be shut off and all your searches will need to run through

Thanks to the feedback from the community and the hard work of the INSPIRE team, we have removed most of the bugs and INSPIRE is now in great working shape for you to use to help your research.

We continue to develop features for INSPIRE and look forward to more of your feedback to help guide us toward the most useful features to build. You can let us know what you need next at