Inspec and Inspec Archive search fields

You can search the following fields in the Inspec and Inspec Archive databases:

All Fields

Using the default All fields in the Quick search drop-down retrieves results from the following fields, or you can select them from the drop-down:

Abstract CODEN Publisher

Accession number

Conference information Source title
Astronomical indexing Inspec controlled term Subject/Title/Abstract
Author ISBN Title
Author Affiliation ISSN Uncontrolled term

Chemical indexing

Material identity number  
Classification code Numeric indexing  
Tip Click any of the linked fields above to jump directly to descriptions and examples of that field found below. Click Back in the Help navigation bar to return to the top at any time.

Additional fields can be searched using the Expert search. These fields are provided at the end of this topic.

All examples below using "wn" followed by a field code (e.g., "solar energy" wn AB) are Expert search examples.


Search Abstract to find terms in the Abstract field. To search for an exact phrase, enclose it in braces or quotation marks as follows:

Example "solar energy" wn AB
{graphical user interface} wn AB
(gold or fe) wn AB

To search for documents related to computers or computing, type comput* wn AB. Refer to Wildcards and truncation.

Note The asterisk ( * ) does not work in a phrase search.

Accession number

The accession number is a unique number assigned to each record in Inspec and Compendex. It is only displayed in the detailed record format.

Example 11414022 wn AN

Astronomical indexing

Astronomical object designations have been indexed in the Astronomical object field back to 1995. It allows named or numbered objects to be retrieved more efficiently. Three types of designations exist:

Detailed information about Astronomical Object indexing can be found at The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) website at


Inspec does not use authors' first names; only their initials. The database also includes any suffixes appended to the name. To search for an author name, enter last name, comma, then a space, initial(s) and suffix (if any) as follows:

Example Lowe, R. H.

Brown, A.C., Jr.

Author names can be truncated by using an asterisk (*) as a truncation symbol.

Example Jones, A* retrieves
Jones, A. A
Jones, A. B.
Jones, A. C
Jones, A. D. III
Jones, A. D. R. 
Jones, A. D. W.,
Jones, A. D.
Jones A. E, etc.

Be aware that this strategy may lead to false hits because there are many authors with the same last name and first initial. Use of the Author Browse index is strongly recommended in order to make selections from all the possible variations of an author's name.

Note that only authors whose names are presented in the format given are retrieved. For instance, searching for Templeton, J. A. does not retrieve articles with the author cited as Templeton, J.

Note The asterisk ( * ) does not work in a phrase search.

If a single term is entered as an author name, all forms of that name will be retrieved, (e.g., entering Fisch retrieves articles by all of the following authors):

Fisch, A.

Fisch, A. M.

Fisch, B.

Fisch, B. J.

Fisch, C.

Fisch, C. B.

Fisch, D.

Fisch, D. E.

Fisch, E.

Fisch, E. A.

Fisch, E. E.

Fisch, E. F.

To further refine this search, add the truncation symbol after the first initial.

Fisch, E* retrieves:

Fisch, E.

Fisch, E. A.

Fisch, E. E.

Fisch, E. F.

When records are displayed, author names are linked. Click an author link to retrieve records with that author from the entire date range of the database.

Author Affiliation

The institutional affiliation at the time of publication is given for the first author of each record as given in the journal if it can be determined from the source document. The affiliation includes the name, city, state, and country of the organization where applicable. In some cases, more than one level of the organization is cited as well.

As variations and abbreviations may have been used, it is a good idea to use the Author Affiliation Browse index.

Chemical indexing

The Chemical indexing field is a system of controlled indexing for inorganic substances and material systems.

Every significant substance in a record is given one of three basic role indicators:

Some substances may be assigned special roles. These are:

Detailed information about Chemical indexing can be found at The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) website at

Classification code

The Inspec classification is divided into five areas:

The single letter and following 4 digits indicate the levels of classification. The letter (A, B, C, D, or E) represents the discipline area. The most general level is represented by the first digit. The second level is represented by the second digit, etc.

Example A4000 Fundamental areas of phenomenology
A4200 Optics
A4255 Lasing processes
A4255N Fibre lasers and amplifiers 

Refer to for more details.


A CODEN is a 6-character representation of a source title. It can be used to limit results to a specific journal. CODENs can be found in Inspec's List of Journals, Ulrich's Periodicals Directory, and the CASSI: Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index. You can also find a journal's CODEN in the abstract and detailed views for a record.

Conference information

Conference information includes the name, date, location, and sponsor of a conference.

Controlled term (Inspec)

The controlled vocabulary used to index records in Inspec can be found in the Inspec Thesaurus available online. These terms can also be browsed in the Inspec Controlled-term Browse index.

These terms also appear inked in the abstract and detailed record format. Click any of these to retrieve additional records on that subject spanning the default time period of the database.

ISBN (International Standard Book Number)

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is 13-digit number, (formerly a 10-digit number), that uniquely identifies a specific title and edition of a book or book series. It can be used to find chapters from the same book or papers from the same conference. The ISBN appears in the abstract and detailed views for a record. It can be searched with or without the hyphens.


978-1-62410-198-4 wn BN

9781624101984 wn BN

ISSN (International Standard Serial Number)

The International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is a standardized international alphanumeric code that is a unique and precise identifier for a serial publication. The format of the ISSN is an eight-digit number, divided by a hyphen into two four-digit numbers. The last digit, which may be 0-9 or an X, is a check digit. It can be used to limit search results to a specific journal or serial conference proceeding. It can be searched with or without the hyphen. The ISSN is displayed in abstract and detailed formats. There may be an E-ISSN displayed, which is assigned to the electronic version of a serial publication.


0035-8711 wn SN

00358711 wn SN

Material Identity Number (1996 - present)

This field contains an internal Inspec code uniquely identifying the publication issue for serials or the entire publication for non-serials. It can be used to find papers from a specific issue of a journal after at least one paper from that issue is located. It can also be used to find all the papers from conference proceedings or chapters from a book.

Example "BE94-2017-136" wn MI

Numeric indexing

Numeric data indexing standardizes the manner numeric values are expressed by the authors within their papers as these values may be expressed in a variety of ways. Numeric data indexing solves these different manners of citation by standardizing these differences into a consistent format. Numeric data can be searched via Expert search.

Example 32 megawatts may be cited as the following:
32 M W
32000 kW
32 MWatts, etc. 

There are two different types of numeric value based searches in Inspec: text-based numerically indexed values and true numerically indexed values.

Text-based numeric data indexing (which is only available in Inspec) uses the field code "NI" and is composed of the following three elements:

  1. Quantity (e.g., temperature, wavelength, frequency): {power 3.5E+07 W} wn NI
  2. Unit (e.g., Kelvin, meter, hertz:) "7.151E-10 M" wn NI
  3. Value (always expressed in scientific notation format), e.g., "Temperature 9.5E+01" wn NI

Refer to the IET website for detailed information regarding text-based numerical data indexing at

Numerically indexed data is available in Inspec and Compendex and contains 62 numerically indexed fields with the NU prefix. It is composed of four elements and the searches must be structured in the following order as shown below:

  1. field name (e.g. NU_TEMPERATURE, NU_CAPACITANCE)
  2. operator (greater than [GT], greater than or equal to [GTE], less than [LT], less than or equal to [LTE], or equals [EQ])
  3. numeric value
  4. default unit (refer to Numeric index search fields chart, e.g. "K", "W", "eV")

    Alternately, you may use the optional units of measure, e.g. "Ci", "kW", "MHz"

Additional Information

There are advantages for both types of numeric searches.

Text-based index Advantages:

The text-based indexed data contains more fields than the numeric search index such as "galactic distance", "gain", and "noise figure".

You can search for text populated in this field (e.g. "power", "stellar mass", and "temperature").

Numeric index


From the Quick and Expert search pages, you can use the Numeric filter which will convert the optional units of measure to the proper default unit for your search queries.

You can use various numeric operators such as GT (greater than) and LTE (less than or equal to) to find records contained within specific numeric ranges as opposed to only matching string text values in the text-based numeric index.

You can use numbers or scientific notation format as numeric values for your search queries. For example, to find all Inspec records that contain a frequency value that equals 20,000 Hz, both of the following queries would be valid:




Search the Publisher field to identify publishers or find the journals published by a particular publisher. Refer to the Publisher Browse index to search for all versions of a publisher's name.

Example American Institute of Physics can appear in the following formats:
AIP Press
American Inst. Phys 

Source title

Search the Source title field if you want to identify source titles, such as journals, books, monographs, or conference proceedings, from your area of study.

Example Searching for polymer* retrieves citations whose sources will include the following:
Polymers for Advanced Technologies
Journal of Applied Polymer Science

To search for a specific source title, enclose the title in braces or quotation marks.

Example {X-Ray Spectrometry}
"Journal of X-Ray Science and Technology"

As variations of source title names sometimes appear, it is a good idea to use the Source title Browse index. This look-up index also includes books and conference titles.


Searching for Subject/Title/Abstract retrieves results from any of the following fields: Abstract, Title, Controlled term, or Uncontrolled term.  


To search for specific terms within the title, search the Title field. Words in a title are often indicators of the main focus of the article. For example, "radio frequency" in the title likely finds articles where radio frequency is an important aspect of the article.

All titles in Inspec are in English.

Uncontrolled term

Uncontrolled terms, also known as free language terms, are additional subject terms assigned by indexers. These terms are not selected from the Inspec Thesaurus, but can reflect new expressions and terminology used in a particular discipline. These terms allow for further specificity in indexing that is not available using controlled vocabulary. Uncontrolled terms may subsequently become part of Inspec's controlled vocabulary.

Example {irregular media} wn FL
"stationary phase methods" wn FL

Additional fields

Searching All fields in a Quick search also retrieves results from these additional fields. The information appears when you view the details of a document in the Detailed view.

The following fields are available on the Quick search page via the drop-down filters. Refer to the Inspec and Inspec Archive search limits for additional information regarding these fields.

Use Expert search to search these additional fields directly in the Inspec database:

See Expert search fields and field codes for descriptions of these fields.



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