Finding information and papers

Jeremy Sanders

October 2011

Here are some places where you can find information on computers and astronomy. Web pages are linked from the web page associated with this course, http://www-xray.ast.cam.ac.uk/~jss/lecture/computing/

Astronomical resources

  1. ADS (Astrophysics Data System) - look up papers. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html
  2. arXiv.org - preprint database. Suggest you subscribe to the email service or browse regularly if you are a postgraduate (unless you want to rely on your supervisor). http://uk.arxiv.org/archive/astro-ph
  3. NED - extragalactic database, lots of information about extragalactic objects and references to papers. http://nedwww.ipac.caltech.edu/
  4. Simbad - astronomical database. http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/Simbad.html
  5. Level 5 - extragalactic knowledgebase. http://nedwww.ipac.caltech.edu/level5/
  6. NASA Skyview - see the sky at any wavelength http://skyview.gsfc.nasa.gov/
  7. Ned Wright's Javascript Cosmology Calculator - work out distances in a variety of cosmologies http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/CosmoCalc.html

Computing resources (or RTFM)

  1. These documents
  2. IoA users' guide http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/local/user_guide/
  3. IoA support wiki http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/local/computing/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
  4. Your officemates
  5. Man pages. Type man command. Use apropos word $\vert$ more to search for commands with word in their title.
  6. Google (or your other favourite search engine) http://www.google.co.uk/
  7. Other people in the department
  8. Helpdesk. email helpdesk@ast.cam.ac.uk or use web interface (http://rt3.ast.cam.ac.uk/rt3/SelfService)
  9. Starlink cookbooks, http://star-www.rl.ac.uk/Documentation/index.htm

Using the Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

Hints on using ADS to read papers
  1. Use one author per line in the author box. The format is ``Surname, I.N.'' or just ``Surname''.
  2. Click on the ``And'' button above the author box to ensure you are getting papers with all rather than any of the authors.
  3. Use the caret (^) symbol in front of the author name to say that is the first author on the paper, e.g. ``^Bloggs, F.''
  4. Use the MM YY boxes to specify a date range. Leave them blank to do the obvious thing.
  5. You can enter object names to search for papers referring to that astronomical object
  6. The sorting options at the bottom of the page are useful (sort by name, date, citations...)
  7. The ``All refereed articles'' option is useful to only get refereed articles.
  8. Some formatting options (including custom) can be used to create data to paste into webpage / LaTeX document.
  9. The BibTeX formatting option is useful to paste in a BibTeX file (you can do this individually after clicking on an abstract)
  10. In acroread you can specify the printer to print to using -dprintername in the print dialog box, or using a default printer.

The letters after the paper in a listing do different things when clicked on:

  1. A -- bring up abstract.
  2. E -- bring up an electronic version of the paper (a webpage, quite often difficult to read compared to PDF).
  3. F -- bring up PDF (typically from publisher's website, so doesn't work if you don't have a subscription).
  4. G -- scanned-in articles (usually older)
  5. X -- preprint from arxiv.org - useful if you don't have a subscription to the journal.
  6. R -- bring up a list of references in the article.
  7. C -- list papers which cite this article.
  8. U -- also read these papers suggestions.
  9. D -- online data associated whith the article.
  10. S -- Simbad astronomical objects the paper mentions.
  11. N -- NED astronomical objects the paper mentions.
  12. M -- Multimedia presentation (rare!)

Organising papers

There are various electronic online social bookmarking systems you can use to track the papers you are interested in. These include
  1. citeulike - http://www.citeulike.org/
  2. connotea - http://www.connotea.org/
  3. bibsonomy - http://www.bibsonomy.org/
  4. mendeley - http://www.mendeley.com/
  5. delicious - not science specific - http://www.delicious.com/
  6. facebook(!), LinkedIn, digg, reddit...
There are handy buttons you can click on an arXiv.org abstract for bookmarking an interesting paper.

I also suggest keeping useful papers in a BibTeX database to help keep track (see the LaTeX notes).

About this document ...

Finding information and papers

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The translation was initiated by Jeremy Sanders on 2011-10-02


Jeremy Sanders 2011-10-02