HEPJobs is the latest database to transfer over to INSPIRE: http://inspirehep.net/Jobs

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, AcademicJobsOnline.org, 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 jobs@inspirehep.net.

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 feedback@inspirehep.net

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, feedback@inspirehep.net

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 http://inspirehep.net/person/search , choose your profile and follow the “verify your publications link”). Second – there is a new tool allowing you to correct references yourself (http://inspirehep.net/help/reference_corrections). 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 www.inspirehep.net.

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 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

Citations are an important part of the service INSPIRE provides, as we know from your feedback. Ensuring that your citations are correctly counted requires an enormous amount of technical infrastructure and human effort in order to keep the reference lists of records current.   Not only do we parse references from many different formats in LaTeX and PDF, but papers are updated both at arXiv and in the process of publication in a journal, and of course there are plain old mistakes and omissions.

Over time at SPIRES we developed a mechanism for feedback if you find an error in our reference lists, but those of you who used it regularly know that it was very tedious to get all the information in the right format for us to enter easily.  Fortunately, INSPIRE brings us into the 21st Century with a new web-based form that allows you to add references to a record without cutting and pasting or having to know the abbreviations of journal names by heart.

For details on how to use this new form see:


This form should make it much easier to add missing references than our previous methods, and allows our INSPIRE team to approve your corrections quickly.  

Heath O’Connell


The INSPIRE literature database, successor to the SPIRES literature database, will soon leave the beta stage as its teething troubles have been overcome (or soon will be) thanks to generous feedback from our users.

So now it’s time for the other SPIRES databases (conferences, experiments, hepnames, institutions, jobs) to follow suit and make their transition to INSPIRE. The second one to migrate has been the INSTITUTION database, now accessible at http://inspirehep.net/collection/Institutions. It offers information on about 10k institutions worldwide publishing HEP-related material.
You will witness major changes to this database over the next months, among them a more consistent and transparent naming of the affiliations in HEP records, more detailed information on papers published by an institution, geographical distribution, collaboration networks and more.

Annette (CERN)