Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

SearchingTransitioning from ClassicPrivate LibrariesORCIDDatabase CoverageOther


Q: Typing a fielded query for an author query (e.g. author:“huchra, j.” or author:“^huchra, j.”) or clicking on the search term dropdown leads to a lot of additional work over a similar search in Classic.

There are two options. First, a first-author query, entered as ^huchra, j. in Classic, works similarly in Bumblebee—the author: tag is not necessary for first-author searches. Second, many search tags will autocomplete in the search box. Begin typing the search tag, such as author:, and either press the return key or the right arrow key when the tag autocompletes to accept it.

Q: Is it possible to search using the second author of a paper?

Bumblebee supports positional searches. To search for a second author, use pos(author:“huchra,j.”,2). See the Help page for positional field searches for more info.

Either prepend a negative sign (e.g. -doctype:“proposal”) or use the Boolean operator NOT (e.g. NOT doctype:“proposal”) while searching. See the Help page for Boolean queries for more info.

Q: Records are missed when searching from the 1st of one month to the end of the current month, e.g. pubdate:[2016-01-01 TO 2016-06-30].

Records do not generally have a publication day, just a month and year. The missing day is set to 00 (e.g. January 2016 is set to 2016-01-00). Searches starting on the 1st of a given month will exclude all records with publication days of 00. It is preferable to not use a day when searching over a publication date range; specifying only a month will include records with publication days of 00. This is similarly true for the small number of records missing publication months. Searches beginning in January of a given year may miss records with publication months of 00. To search for records from the first half of the year, employ a search term such as pubdate:[2016 TO 2016-06].

Q: How can I search for an acronym that is the same as a common word?

Bumblebee treats search terms entered in all caps as acronyms and will only return records that contain the all caps acronym form, not the lowercase common word form. In addition, some acronyms will auto-expand in the search (e.g. searching for “ADS” will find both “ADS” and “Astrophysics Data System” but will ignore “ads”).

Q: My new paper is not appearing in Bumblebee.

New papers appearing on arXiv are ingested daily, though there may be a delay of one day for them to appear in Bumblebee. Published articles are ingested as the publisher provides them on a weekly basis, generally over the weekend.

Q: Searching for an author’s name plus their affiliation doesn’t give a complete list of results.

The affiliation search is still in beta. Not all publishers provide authors’ affiliations for search indexing, even if the affiliations are listed in the PDF or HTML form of the article itself. Also, affiliations do not yet have canonical forms: searching for “Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics” or for “CfA” will give different results. We are working on a new affiliations search module that will provide canonical forms of affiliations to ease searching—we hope to enable this sometime in 2018.

Transitioning from Classic

Q: Sometimes Classic will display more results for a given search than Bumblebee will. The total number of results returned by Classic seems to depend on the number of results shown per page.

Both Classic and Bumblebee will show a single record only once in the search results and will combine a record’s published and arXiv versions into a single listing in the results in order to do so. In Bumblebee, this merging of arXiv and published versions of a record occurs before the total number of records is calculated. In Classic, this merging happens when a record’s listing is displayed in the search results and has not yet been performed for records on a page further down the search results. Thus the real total number of records returned by a Classic search isn’t known until all results have been displayed, by paging through the results. Thus Classic may initially show a higher total number of results than has actually been found.

Q: The number of reads for a given record is different between Classic and Bumblebee.

The number of reads for a record in Classic (seen under the Reads History link from an abstract page) and in Bumblebee (seen by clicking on Metrics from an abstract page) is the same; this figure is the number of times an abstract page has been accessed or the full text downloaded on ADS by distinct users. A second type of usage data, the recent reads, is available in Bumblebee on the right side of the search results. This adds the number of reads on arXiv in the last 90 days to the number of reads in ADS over the same time period and thus may be higher than the number of reads seen on an abstract page for newer records.

Q: How do I transfer a private library from Classic to Bumblebee?

The easiest method is to link your Classic account to your Bumblebee account and use our import tool to transfer your library. If this is not an option, you may also perform the following: 1. In Classic, select all records in the library you wish to transfer. 2. At the bottom of the page, select the button “Export selected records to ADS Bumblebee.” 3. In Bumblebee, perform any additional filtering that may be necessary. 4. Select all records (using the select all box at the top, if necessary) and use the buttons in the right panel to add the records to a library.

Nope! Existing Classic URLs will continue to work, even after Classic is retired.

Private Libraries

Q: If I delete a record from the middle of a large private library, the page refreshes and deposits me back on the first page.

To return to your previous position, use the jump-to box at the bottom of the list of records, between the previous and next page buttons.


ORCID claims can take up to 24 hours to be processed and approved in our system. Please check the search again tomorrow.

Database Coverage

Q: How complete is ADS?

ADS aims to be the complete and authoritative source for the astrophysics literature. This includes not only published refereed articles and arXiv e-prints, but also the gray literature, comprised of conference proceedings, books, proposals, etc. We aim to not only index these resources but also enrich them with links to data or other resources when available. We also index published refereed papers and conferences that are likely to be cited by the core astrophysics literature, such as papers from physics, geophysics, and planetary science. If a record is missing, please let us know via our Submit Abstract Form.

Q: Why are citations from an arXiv record missing? Why is an arXiv record missing its references?

For arXiv sources, we attempt to extract references from the full text and from there create citations. However, as papers can be submitted to the arXiv with a bibliography in a non-standard format, this process is not always successful. When the published version of an arXiv paper becomes available, we will use the publisher-provided reference list and disregard the arXiv reference list.

Q: For how many records is the full text available for searching?

The full text is available for searching for over 4 million records, including most recent publications. Note that the searchable full text resides in our database and is separate from the links to publisher or arXiv sources; not all records with source links have searchable full text.


Q: How should I acknowledge ADS?

If you wish to acknowledge us in a publication, kindly use a phrase such as the following: “This research has made use of NASA’s Astrophysics Data System Bibliographic Services.” If you are using the ADS as a tool for bibliometric studies, please make sure you have an in-depth understanding of the system, its features and limitations, by reading and citing as appropriate the relevant published literature about ADS (refereed, non-refereed).