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MathSciNet Matters

This is the first MathSciNet Matters column. Itis expected to appear in the Notices severaltimes a year. It will include information on newfeatures of MathSciNet and on the underlyingMathematical Reviews Database, together withtips on how to use MathSciNet to make the mostof its richness of structure and content.

MathSciNet Matters

The MR Author Database. Every author of anitem in MathSciNet is associated with a real personin the MR Author Database. This is done after thebibliographic data is keyed, partly by automation,and partly by the perspiration of MR staff. This maynot seem remarkable if you think of a dozen colleagues sharing your interests, but consider thatthe Author Database contains nearly 400,000 distinct authors representing every area of mathematics over more than sixty years.Collaboration Distance Calculator. A new linkhas been added to the Author Search in MathSciNet, the Collaboration Distance Calculator. Eachauthor returned by an Author Search has a link nextto it that will calculate the distance in the authorcollaboration graph from the given author to anyother author (e.g., Paul Erdo˝s). While mathematicians should find this amusing, it is actually a serious demonstration of the power of the AuthorDatabase within the Mathematical Reviews Database.Tip. When searching for the entries of a givenauthor, begin with the Author Search screen ratherthan with the Full Search screen. This gives you thepower of the underlying Author Database.

Current awareness browsing. The three browsing searches in MathSciNet have been updated toreflect calendar units of time in which content isadded to MathSciNet. For example, the user canbrowse reviews of books added in the current calendar month, or in the previous calendar month.Thus, a monthly program of browsing all the recent additions of book reviews to MathSciNet couldbe carried out by clicking on Book reviews enteredlast month on any day of the month. The resultinglists collected month by month will be comprehensive and non-overlapping. If a month is missed,simply choose Book reviews entered 2 months ago.FAQ and Improved Help. Help pages have beendivided into two levels, with the most basic information at the first level. A new FAQ page has beenadded.MathSciNet Trivia. The 7-digit MR Numbers arepublished roughly (but not exactly) in sequence inMathSciNet. In November 2003 the numberMR2000000 appeared. These numbers only “count”the items in the database in a relative way. Thereare now over 1,950,000 individual entries (items)in the MR Database. Each working day over 350 newbibliographic items are added.Reviewers Corner. The submission of reviewson the Web has saved MR substantial processingtime. A new interface with reviewer personalizationwill be available by the end of 2004. If you haven’tyet submitted your reviews on the Web, give the newinterface a try at http://www.ams.org/mresubs.

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