Seaching is an important part of Paperscape, since it allows you to find papers on the map. When you enter a search term in the box, all papers that match the search result have a large white halo drawn around them.

At the moment our search can handle arXiv identifiers (eg 1207.7214, hep-ex/9807003), author names (eg E.Witten), titles, keywords (the most common words in the title and abstract of a paper), and new papers (those that appeared on the arXiv today, eg ?n hep-th).

If you type in a list of words in the search box, we do a “boolean and” search for all those words using the authors and keywords of each paper. This gives decent results in a lot of the common cases. For example, searching for "witten qcd" finds papers written by Witten that are about QCD, and also finds papers written about QCD that mention Witten in the abstract.

It is not at the moment possible to construct your own boolean search phrases. For example "?au witten ?ti qcd" does not work, at least not yet!

We are still developing search. If you have any suggestions for how searching should work, please leave a comment.

7 thoughts on “Searching

  1. I am deeply impressed by this wonderful map, which, I guess, for the first time enables human-beings to see the whole landscape of modern physics. I wonder whether there could be a 3D diagram with time as the vertical coordinate so that one could see how this landscape evolves with time. I think it will become even more exciting to have a chance to witness the growth of modern physics over the last ten or twenty , or even a hundred of years within a single diagram. And it will also greatly benefit the study of the history of physics.

    1. Thank you for the compliment!

      We actually tried many different ways of rendering the map. We tried 2d with time on one axis and “topic” on the other axis, but it was just a mess. One dimension is not enough for “topic”, and because some papers take years before they are cited related papers are far apart.

      We tried a 3d version of what you see currently, but it was difficult to see the interior section (just a big lump of papers), and it was also not possible to render 865,000 papers in 3d using the browser.

      We have made animations of the graph building up over time, and this is probably the closest to what you suggest. I agree that a 3d diagram would convey a lot of information. These are all good ideas and we will try to incorporate (some) of them in our site. For example, we could have a time-slider that you could adjust on the map to view a particular window of time.

    2. It wd b even MORE useful if we cd actually READ the papers; at $30 it wd cost me about $30,000 a year to keep up w all my interests.

        1. Yes, all the papers from the arXiv are free for you to read the entire article. Just click on the paper, and then on the PDF icon in the popup. There is a wealth of information there! Note that if the arXiv wasn’t free to read, we would not have been able to build the Paperscape map.

  2. Guys this is an absolutely fantastic page! Not only useful but also extremely fun. Congratulations and keep up the good work.. I have some observations regarding the search on the main paper scape and a small feature request maybe. I was searching my papers, of which I don’t have many and they are not so many times cited making them relatively smaller circles. It was not immediately obvious where they appeared. At least in the first try. If we assume an author wrote papers mostly around the same region in the paper scape (of course there will be exceptions) maybe it would be nice from the users perspective if there is an automatic zoom is applied onto the area where most of the papers from the author sits. What do you think ??

    In any case, it all looks amazing. Great work !

    1. Thanks for your kinds words and feedback Mert!

      Currently the map will automatically zoom in and centre on all the search results. I guess what’s happening in your case is that your search result has some papers lying far afield from your main region of interest and these are also shown. We could zoom in more on the crux of the search result, but then the user may completely miss the outlying papers. One solution to solve the problem of it not being immediately obvious where all your papers appeared is to increase the size of the white background halo, especially at far out zoom levels. But we’re very open to other ideas!

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