A Final Farewell to ADS Classic


ADS Classic is officially retiring on October 31, 2019 after more than 25 years in service. Its replacement, the new ADS, has been in the works for a decade, with the current iteration, originally codenamed Bumblebee, in development since 2015. We know that most of you use ADS multiple times a week (if not daily) and have done so for much of your careers, so this is a big change which may require some adjustment. We are taking steps to make this transition as smooth as possible and want to reassure all of our users about what this transition entails.

As a system, ADS is made up of two main components: its bibliographic database (Abstract Service) and its full-text archive (Article Service). The changes that will occur on October 31st only affect the operations of the ADS Abstract Service. In particular:

  • All query forms that use the ADS Classic search engine will be redirected to the corresponding pages on the new website
  • All abstract pages in ADS Classic will be redirected to their corresponding versions in the new interface
  • All links to queries into the ADS search engine will be redirected to the corresponding searches in the new interface

Things that will not (yet) change:

  • Access to the full-text of articles hosted by ADS, either via the page-turning interface or through links to PDF documents
  • Access to the ADS Classic “API” for those applications requesting machine readable content such as RSS feeds, XML or VOTABLE output
  • Access to layered services such as the myADS notification service or the ADS reference resolver

A list of resources and search forms which will remain accessible is listed on the ADS Legacy Pages page.

If you have been bookmarking URLs of records in ADS or even queries into our system, these should be redirected to the proper place on the new website. However, note that personalized content, such as a user account with ADS Classic or private libraries, will not be automatically migrated to the new site. If you had such content you will have received multiple reminders and instructions on how to migrate it.

We are aware that change isn’t always easy and understand people’s reluctance to invest time to learn how to navigate a new system. Just like any software, learning the new ADS will take a bit of time, but we have you covered. We encourage you to check out the following resources to help with the transition:

  • ADS Office Hours talks (starting with the recording of the talk “Intro to the new ADS”). We’ll be hosting two ADS Office Hours talks on November 5th, one at 10am EST (scheduled so Europe and other points east can join) and one at 3pm EST (for the American west coast and Hawaii). Both will include a half-hour talk/demo of searching in the new ADS and will allow time for audience questions. Tune in to the live stream on our YouTube channel. (Note: if there’s demand for an Office Hours talk for Australia/Asia, let us know in the comments and we’ll see what we can schedule.)
  • The Quick Start guides (start with the Quick Start guide to basic searching) for written step-by-step instructions for individual tasks
  • A checklist of things to do with your Classic account before it retires, including importing your Classic libraries
  • If you’re struggling with the one-box search syntax in the new ADS, try the Classic-style form

We hope that this transition will be seamless. If you run into any issues, please email our help team at adshelp@cfa.harvard.edu with your concerns.

Frequently asked questions:

  • Q: When my internet speed is very slow, it’s hard to connect to ADS. Or, I prefer not to enable JavaScript.
    A: We’ve introduced a basic, HTML-only version of the new ADS. If the site is taking a long time to load, you’ll be presented with a link to that version. Alternatively, a link is available in the footer of the site. Note that this HTML-only site is intended for searching only, and does not include features linked to user accounts such as personalizations and libraries.
  • Q: I have Classic links embedded in my personal website or bookmarked. Will those still work?
    A: Yes, your links will continue to work, and will be redirected to the appropriate pages in the new ADS.
  • Q: Will my Classic libraries be available in the new ADS?
    A: Classic private libraries will not be transferred automatically, but we provide a tool to import them for you. After creating an account in the new ADS, you’ll have access to the library import tool. This tool will be available for several months after Classic is retired.