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Mathematics: Graduate Student Library Orientation: Finding Articles

This guide is a companion to the Graduate Student Library Orientation (GSLO) presentation, geared to teaching grad students the information literacy skills necessary to performing graduate-level research.

Introduction to Math Databases

The University of Hawaii at Manoa subscribes to several mathematics databases, but this guide will focus on MathSciNet, one of the most popular and most comprehensive databases. 

MathSciNet is the digital version of a publication by the American Mathematical Society called Mathematical Reviews.  It is technically an abstract and citations database, which means that the database contains abstracts and citations and not the full text of articles. Despite this, many articles are available to read/download directly from MathSciNet.

Searching MathSciNet

MathSciNet is a subscription service.  In order to get the most out of UHM's subscription, it is important to log into MathSciNet through the library's proxy so that it recognizes that you are a UHM student.

1. Go to the library's website ( and click on the Online Databases/Indexes link.

Screenshot of main library page


2.  From this screen, there are three ways to find MathSciNet.  (You can also search Voyager for MathSciNet and follow the link there.)

Three ways to get to MathSciNet


3. Whichever way you choose, you should end up on this page.  (If you plan to use MathSciNet regularly, this is the page you should bookmark.)

MathSciNet proxy page


4.  You may be asked to log in with your UH username and password (the username and password you use to access your UH email) and then you will be redirected to the MathSciNet website.

MathSciNet has four kinds of searches:

MathSciNet search screen

  1. Publications allows you to enter search terms in a variety of fields to find articles, books, and conference proceedings.
  2. Authors allows you to search by the author's name or MR Author ID.
  3. Journals allows you to search for a journal using its title, part of its title, abbreviation, or ISSN.
  4. Citations tells you how many times an author or journal has been cited.  You can also see the most cited articles in a particular subject or during a particular year.

These are the search fields available in MathSciNet.  Click on the name of the field for more information.

Field Searches...
Author Author's name only
Author/Related Author's name plus editors, translators etc.
Title Title of original article
Review Text Any text in the body of the review
Journal Journal name
Institution Code The code assigned to a specific institution
Series Series name
MSC Primary/Secondary Primary or secondary Mathematics Subject Classification
MSC Primary Primary Mathematics Subject Classification
MR Number Number of item in MathSciNet
Reviewer Reviewer's name
Anywhere All of the bibliographic, classification, and review information
References All reference lists

If you plan to include the author's name as part of your search, the best way to do this is to use the Authors search.  Authors sometimes publish papers using variations of their name. The easiest way to search all their name variations is to use the Authors search.

Author's search tab


When searching by author anywhere on MathSciNet, make sure to use the format Last Name, First Name (or Initial).  Don't forget the comma!

Good Searches:

  • Rudin (will find authors with "Rudin" in their last name)
  • Rudin, W*
  • Rudin, Walter

Bad Searches:

  • Walter Rudin
  • Rudin Walter
  • That one analysis guy


Once you find the right record, click on it for more information and options.  Here is an example of an author's record:

An exmaple of an author's record


To add all variations of the author's name to your search, click on Refine Search.

Adding the author to your search


This will take you back to the Publications search page with the author field pre-filled for you.

Search with author pre-filled

You can add more search terms if you wish, and click "Search."


The Journals Search lets you get the full name of a journal from its abbreviation or ISSN.  You can also browse specific issues of journals and get access to the articles of some titles. To get there, click on the Journals tab.

Searching journals


Suppose you found a citation for an article you would like to read in something called Ann. Pure Appl. Logic.  You can type that into the search box:

Journal search example


Here is the result of the search:

Journal search results


When you are browsing the contents of an issue, some articles will be available for viewing.  If the Article link is not grayed out, you can click on it to access the article. (Click image for bigger version.)

Browsing an issue


The citations search can tell you how often an author or journal has been cited and where they were cited.  Citations can give you clues about how influential an author or journal is, and can provide good suggestions for further reading on your topic of research.

To search for citations, click on the Citations tab.

Citations tab


You will see a new search screen with new tabs to choose from:

Citations search screen

  • Author Citations tells you how often a particular author has been cited.
  • Journal Citations tells you how often a particular journal has been cited.
  • Search by Subject tells you the most-cited articles in a particular subject.
  • Search by Year tells you the most-cited articles in a particular year.
  • Top 10 Lists tells you generate a top 10 list for a given year and category.

MathSciNet Search Tips

The wildcard character is an asterisk ( * ).

  • algebra* will find algebra, algebras, algebraic, algebraically, etc.

To prevent the search from automatically including the plural (or singular) form, use a bang ( ! ):

  • topology! will search for topology but not topologies
  • groups! will search for groups but not group

The Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT are recognized.  Use parentheses if necessary.

Quotation marks ( " ) are unnecessary because search terms are assumed to be phrases.

TeX code is optional and do not affect search results

More information about searching can be found here.