HeinOnline's Tip of the Week: Searching by Author Name

Searching, Tips and Tricks
HeinOnline Blogger

HeinOnline indexes author names as they appear in the original copy of a title/article. Some author names may contain middle initials, only the first initial of their first name, or both first and middle initials. An author could be displayed in the index in one or more of the following formats:

Last Name, First Name (ex: Cheffins, Brian)
Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial (ex: Franck, Susan D.)
Last Name, First Initial, Middle Initial (ex: Robertson, A. H.)
Last Name, First Initial (ex: Miller, S.)
Last Name, First Initial, Middle Name (ex: Miller, S. Elizabeth)

This can make searching for an author difficult if you do not know what the middle initial is or in which format the author’s name is displayed in a title. Below are some examples and tips to refine and optimize your search results when searching by author.

First, let’s choose the Field Search option. Insert the full name, Susan D. Franck, into the first field, select phrase, creator/author from the drop down menu and all titles. Click search. In this case, we receive no results because the author’s name is indexed as Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial. Therefore, let’s try running our search by inputting the author’s name in this format. Input Franck, Susan D. into the first field, select phrase and creator/author. This format will generate search results.

This same concept can be applied to an Advanced Search by inputting the following search syntax: creator:”Franck, Susan D.” rather than inputting the syntax as creator:”Susan D. Franck”.

If you only know the first and last name of an author and receive no results when searching for first name/last name (i.e. Susan Franck), then try the following variations in the field search. First, try inputting last name/first name, such as Franck, Susan into the first field, select phrase and creator/author.

Or you can break the author’s name into two fields. Input Susan in the first field, select word and creator/author. Then choose AND as the Boolean operator, input Franck into the second field, select word and creator/author and click search. Conducting a field search in this format will optimize your results by looking for two terms that make up the author’s name, vs. searching for the entire full name with middle initial.

You can also apply this concept to an advanced search by inputting the following search syntax: creator:”Susan” AND creator:”Franck”.

You may also try conducting the search using only the last name of the author. For example, we can enter the single term “Franck” as creator/author into a field or advanced search. This search will return 128 results, of which their are multiple articles written by authors who have a first or last name “Franck”. To sort through the results, change the sort by method to “Document Author” and re-display your results to view them in alphabetical order by Author’s Last Name. You can now browse through the results to the author and article you are looking for.

In some cases, an Author may have written multiple articles in which their authorship was defined differently. For example, they chose to use their middle initial on some articles, and on other articles chose to only use their first and last names. Therefore, the most relevant search format to use will be last name/first name. Entering the search query in this format will return articles published in both author formats. For example, input Cheffins, Brian into the first field on the field search screen. Select phrase and creator/author from the drop down menu. This search query will return both articles with the author format Cheffins, Brian and Cheffins, Brian R.

Note: You can also conduct this search using two separate fields with the first name in one field and the last name in the second field (as described in the prior example with Susan Franck). Or you can enter “Brian Cheffins” in the field search box, and select Word vs. phrase.

In other cases, an author may have chosen to only use their last name and first i
nitial or last name, first and middle initials. Thus, it would be useful to conduct a search using the author’s last name and first initial in order to capture all instances of the author’s name. For example, input “Miller, S.” in a field search, select phrase, creator/author. This will return all articles written by authors who have the last name Miller with first initial S.

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