The data in the SciPer Index is highly structured, enabling sophisticated searches to be undertaken. To make searching more convenient, we have devised three search interfaces.
Simple Search. This default search page offers a simple keyword search, both globally and within individual periodicals, with the possibility of restricting the search by date range.
N.B. Before using the Standard or Advanced Searches you are advised to read the information given below about specific features of the search engine.
Standard Search. This search page offers in addition the possibility of searching for subjects, from our list of 340 subject classifiers. You can also search more accurately for the people, the publications (either periodicals or books), and the institutions, societies, etc. mentioned in the periodical articles, by choosing search terms from predefined lists.
Advanced Search. This rather daunting search page provides additional options, allowing for highly sophisticated searches. You can search for different genres of articles, selecting terms from our list of sixty-five genre classifiers. Articles by particular authors or illustrators can be located by choosing names from predefined lists. It is also possible to search for articles by authors of a specified gender, or who were born or died within particular periods. Author signatures and article titles can also be subjected to keyword searches. You can specify that you are only interested in articles in which a publication is reviewed or extracted, rather than merely being mentioned. Finally, articles can be identified that are illustrated with a particular kind of illustration—say a woodcut or a lithograph.
Register Search. All the people, books, periodicals, unidentified pseudonyms, and institutions, societies, etc. that appear in the index have unique entries in the associated registers. These will generally be accessed through the browse interface. However, you may wish to search the registers because a particular item cannot be located in browse view and you want to be sure that you have not missed it accidentally. Alternatively, you might search the registers in order to locate specific kinds of entries: for example, you may wish to identify books whose titles include a specific word or topic, or you may wish to identify institutions devoted to a particular subject.
Accessing the Hitlist
In each of the forms, the relationship between the different parts of the form is a Boolean AND; all the conditions must be true in order for an article to be identified. To commence searching, either hit thebutton, or just hit 'Enter' on your keyboard. It is NOT necessary to enter search terms in all fields.
The search hits are displayed in batches of twenty, in chronological order. They list the basic bibliographical information, and provide links to the articles themselves. To modify the search form that you have just used, it is currently necessary to use the browserbutton. However, if you wish to begin a fresh search, you can use the button in the header bar.
Searching Using Boolean Operators and Wildcards
Keyword Searching. Most search fields can be used to enter multiple search terms. By default, the search engine will return entries which contain any of the words included in the field. You can force the search engine to return only entries where all the words are present using the addition sign (+).
Phrase Searching. Most search fields can also be used to find phrases, using quotes (").
Excluding Words. Every search field requiring Keyword(s) can also be used to specify which words are to be excluded from the search, using a subtraction symbol (-).
Wild Cards. Every search field requiring Keyword(s) can also use a limited wild card function, using the asterisk (*). The asterisk stands for zero or more letters, but can only be used at the end of a word.
Explanation of Individual Search Options
Periodical. Choose a periodical title from the drop-down list, or search all the periodicals.
Date Range. You may choose to select either a 'from' or a 'to' date, or both. Searches are inclusive of the dates shown. E.g. From May 1849 To June 1849 will search the two months May and June 1849. To search a single month, enter the details into both boxes. E.g. From May 1849 To May 1849.
Global Keyword. This will search for a word, or part of a word, or a combination of words anywhere in the index.
N.B. You cannot necessarily expect to find all relevant references to books by entering the book title at this point. For example, entering "vestiges of the natural history of creation" will only result in one hit, whereas the index contains ten references to this anonymous evolutionary work.
Subject. The subject classifiers used in creating the SciPer Index were drawn from a restricted list of 340 headings, devised in-house. For this reason, it is important, when searching by subject, to select from the lists of these headings by clicking the button. This gives access to two lists, headed 'Historical Themes' and 'Scientific Topics'. Although there is inevitably some overlap, the first of these deals largely with terms that are in the historian's analytical vocabulary, such as 'Controversy', 'Display', 'Gender', and 'Imperialism'. The second list deals with the subjects of scientific study engaged by the historical actors, such as 'Analytical Chemistry', 'Eugenics', 'Mesmerism', and 'Monstrosities'.
N.B. It is important to use the specified headings, since entering a word not on the list will result in a null return. Thus, searching for Telegraphy will return 265 hits, but searching for Telegraphs will return none. However, as you become familiar with the headings, you may enter them directly into the search form, including using wildcards (e.g. typing Telegraph*).
Returning Words from a Selection List. Having chosen a word from the subject list (as with the other lists described below), you should click on the highlighted text to select it, then press . If you make a mistake, use to deselect the option chosen. You can chose more than one option. Once again, however, you must use the addition sign (+) if you require only entries where all the words are present. Thus, you might return "Telegraphy" "Internationalism" to the search form, but that will give you 284 articles in which either word is present. If you want to search only for those thirteen articles where both are present, add the + sign (+"Telegraphy" +"Internationalism").
People Mentioned. Each person mentioned in articles possesses a unique identifier, which allows the researcher to pinpoint a unique name rather than being overwhelmed with references to people with similar names. For this reason, when searching for people mentioned, it is important to select from the lists of names by clicking the button. This gives access to the names, alphabetically arranged, of 7,500 people mentioned in the SciPer Index, including some who do not appear in the first release but will appear in the subsequent release.
Please note that the 'People Mentioned' search currently refers only to people whose names appear in the 'People Mentioned' or 'Description' fields. It does not include the authors or illustrators of articles, or, necessarily, the authors of publications mentioned in the article. It is thus possible to select a name from the lists at this point which will result in no hits.
Entering a name in this box manually will result in no hits, UNLESS you have already memorized our unique identifier for the name, e.g. CharlesRDarwin.
Institutions, Societies, &c. Mentioned. Once again, unique identifiers have been assigned to corporate bodies and to scientific locations (e.g. the SS Great Eastern, or the Atlas Works, Sheffield), to enable highly specific searches. The button gives access to the names, alphabetically arranged, of 1,000 institutions mentioned in the SciPer Index, including some which do not appear in the first release but will appear in the subsequent release.
Entering an institution in this box manually will result in no hits, UNLESS you have already memorized the unique identifier, e.g. RoyalSociety.
Publications Mentioned. All the 1,700 books and pamphlets mentioned in the index are listed in a bibliography, which can be accessed using the button, including some which do not appear in the first release but will appear in the subsequent release.
Entering publication details in this box manually will result in no hits, UNLESS you have already memorized the unique identifier, e.g. Darwin1859.
Periodicals Mentioned. All the 650 periodicals mentioned in the index are listed separately, and can be accessed using the button, including some which do not appear in the first release but will appear in the subsequent release.
Entering periodical titles in this box manually will result in no hits, UNLESS you have already memorized the unique identifier, e.g. PhilTransRoySoc.
Author of Article. This field will only work with terms selected from the lists of names accessed by clicking the button. However, since this currently gives access to the names of all 7,500 people mentioned in the SciPer Index, including some who do not appear in the first release but will appear in the subsequent release, many of them will not result in hits. We hope to refine this list to include only those people who are authors of articles in a subsequent release. Entering a name in this box manually will result in no hits, UNLESS you have already memorized our unique identifier for the name, e.g. CharlesRDarwin.
Author Gender. Where the identity of an author is known, the gender has been identified. The largest proportion of articles, however, are those by anonymous or pseudonymous authors whose identity (and therefore gender) has not been identified.
Author Vital Dates. In order to allow users to map attitudinal changes in authors of different generations, we have included an author vital dates search facility. You may choose to select either a 'from' or a 'to' date, or both. Searches are inclusive of the dates shown. E.g. b. From 1801 To 1810 will search for people born during the ten years 1801-1810. To search for people born in a single year, enter the details into both boxes. E.g. b. From 1801 To 1801. If you only include a 'from' value, all people born in or after that year will be returned. E.g. b. From 1801 includes all people born after 1800. The relationship between the 'from' and 'to' date range boxes is a Boolean AND; both date ranges have to be true for a search to be successful. Thus, a search b. From 1801 To 1810 d. From 1851 To 1860 will only find authors who were both born between 1801 and 1810 and died between 1851 and 1860, like Douglas Jerrold (1803–57).
Title Keywords. This allows keyword searching on the original title of the article, or an inferred title if no original title exists.
Genre. The genre classifiers used in creating the SciPer Index were drawn from a restricted list of sixty-five headings, devised in-house. For this reason, it is important, when searching on genre, to select from the lists of these headings by clicking the button. This gives access to the genre list, which works in a similar manner to the subject list.
Publications Mentioned-Location. On the Advanced Search form, it is possible to specify a search for a publication mentioned only in an article in which it is being reviewed, extracted (i.e. a portion of it is reprinted), abstracted (a précis is given), or noticed (it is mentioned in a literary listing, possibly with a very brief description). These options can be selected from the drop-down list.
Signature Keyword. This search allows keyword searching on the original signature used by the author of the article.
Illustrator. This works in exactly the same way as the 'Author of Article' field.
Form of Illustration. Select from the drop-down menu to specify the form of illustration used in the article.
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