user guide

user guide
Using IEEE Xplore
The IEEE Xplore digital library is a powerful resource for discovery and access to scientific
and technical content published by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)
and its publishing partners. IEEE Xplore provides Web access to more than 3-million full-text
documents from some of the world's most highly cited publications in electrical engineering,
computer science and electronics. The content in IEEE Xplore comprises over 160 journals
(including Computer Science and Education), more than 3,800 technical standards, over
1,200 conference proceedings, over 1,000 eBooks and more than 300 educational courses.
Please be sure to follow all terms and conditions when using this resource. The College is
required to emphasise that the IEEE expressly forbids the sharing, distribution or automated
gathering of files obtained from the IEEE/IET Electronic Library. Anyone who wishes to make
files available to other users is asked to do so via hyperlinks only.
IEEE Xplore can be reached from the Online Resources page on the Learning Services section
of the College website: > Learning Services > Resources available now > Online resources
If you accessing the resource offsite, you will need to use your Athens user name and
Please note, IEEE Xplore is a database of records, not a full-text
repository. The College subscribes to many of the resources
available in IEEE Xplore, but not all, so on occasion, you may not
have access to the full-text. If you wish to see only those records
that you have full text access to, please see “Limiting your results”
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Starting out
This is the front page of IEEE Xplore. You can register with the site (it’s free) and this is
explored later. For now, take a look at what you can do from this first page.
Browse – you can take a look at the different categories IEEE Xplore offers,
including By Topic. This is useful if you want to get a feeling for a subject
category. If you do pick a sub-section, you can then do a simple search limiting the search
terms of your sub-section.
Search bar – can be used to input your own search term(s).
Highlights/What’s Popular/Most Recent – again, this allows you to browse
through a selection of results based on either date of publication or number of
hits (by other users).
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To carry out a simple search, just type your terms into the search bar on the front page. To
improve your search
wildcards (using the asterisk symbol *)
For example, you can do the search comput* which will then pick up results with the
terms compute, computing, computer, computational etc
phrase searching (using speech marks)
For example, you can search for “windows vista” which will bring back results where
the terms windows and vista appear as a phrase, and in that order (so not Windows
released vista or vista, Windows)
o Phrase searching is also good for avoiding the IEEE Xplore search assistance.
If you search for network, IEEE Xplore will search for network, networks,
networking. If you search for “network”, you restrict the search to only this
version of the word. Incidentally, IEEE Xplore will automatically look for both
US and UK spellings, so if you were to look for catalogue, the search would
also bring back results with catalog – unless, of course, you used the phrase
searching option!
An example search
Using the simple search bar, let’s carry out a search. The example will be networking
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Notice how a list of suggestions for related links has popped up. It’s up to you if, when doing
your search, you find this useful. This is the IEEE Xplore search assistance in action.
Carrying out this search brings back thousands and thousands of results – 165,938 to be
This is obviously too high a number, but it is possible to reduce the number of results down,
by filtering the list. Look at the red arrow – you can start making edits to your list of results
at this point. (It is also possible to rethink your original search term, if you so desire).
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Filtering results
Look at the left-hand column, ‘Filter These Results’.
The default setting is ‘All Results’. DON’T click on ‘Open Access’ – this will severely limit the
number of results you will get back. You can click on ‘My Subscribed Content’ if you want to
restrict your results, but please note, this may not bring back all the Open Access of freely
available results.
Content type – you can decide here what sort of results you want to see: conference
publications, journals and magazines, Early Access articles, books and e-books, standards or
Education & Learning. The number in brackets is how many results you will be left with if
you pick that option.
Publication year – you can either pick a specific year (click on the radio button, and you will
be given the option to type in the year) or a range – use the slider option or type in the first
and last year of your range.
Author – the list of most popular authors in the results list. Please note not ALL authors will
be listed, just the most popular ones.
Affiliation – the organisation associated with a paper, usually either the publisher or the
employer of one of the authors of the paper.
Publication title – where the most popular results are to be found. If you are wanting to
search a particular publication, it is best to do an advanced search (see page 7) and choose
this option up front.
Publisher – again, if this is an important consideration, choose this in the advanced search
mode (page 6).
Conference country/conference location – this will only work for conference papers and
proceedings, so clicking on any of these will drastically reduce the results in your original
Standard status – do not use, as the vast majority of results will not have this as a field, so
again, you will drastically reduce the number of hits you get back.
Using the simple search option on the front page with the filtering option, should be enough
to find useful results. However, you may want to explore other aspects of IEEE Xplore.
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Advanced Searching
Other search options are below the search bar (on the front page):
Author Search
This allows you to search specifically for an author, using as much information as you have
about their name. You can use wildcards to replace characters (e.g. Brew* finds Brew,
Brewer, Brewster). If you use an initial but the author has used his/her full forename, the
search will still pick this up. However, using the first name will not bring up records where
the author has used their initial.
Advanced Search
This is a more specific search, allowing you to search certain fields, and combine fields. For
example, you could search for your particular term in the ‘Abstract’ field (thereby telling the
search function that your term MUST appear in the ‘abstract’ of any article) and combine
this with an Authors field search:
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Notice how not all three fields have been used – three is just a suggestion. You can also
increase the number of different fields to search, or combine them in different ways, using
NOT or OR instead of AND – though this is getting into quite complex searching.
This is a way of setting up IEEE Xplore to search and display results the way you want them
to, but is only available if you register and log in.
Search Tips
A few useful tips on how the search function in IEEE Xplore works.
More Search Options
Command search – this allows you to build your own search statement. For complex,
tailored searches only.
Publication Quick Search – if you are looking for a specific article or document, this is
the easiest way of finding it. Fill in the form with as much information as you can.
Saved Searches and Alerts – again, an option only for those who have registered and
logged in. Can be useful if you want to set up regular searches on the same topics
(e.g. tracking new articles published on a subject).
Search History – for registered and logged in users only.
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Understanding your results
Once you’ve done your search, you will be presented with a list of results. It is
recommended you use the filtering option where possible, especially if you have more than
about 50 results.
Using the original search of networking technologies, and filtering by Content Type
(Journals and Magazines) and Date (Single Year – 2011), the following results were
Notice that the number of results has reduced dramatically to 1,454 (still too many!). There
are various display options, to make viewing the results easier:
Results per page – change this so you can see 50, 75 or 100 results on the same page.
Sort by – this allows you to display the results in date order (oldest first, or newest), most
cited papers, or in alphabetical order of name of the publication (e.g. journal title).
The buttons just above the list of results give you options, which increase if you are logged
Set Search Alert, Download Citations, Save to Projects and Email Selected Results are only
available if you are registered.
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Print – you can print your results. The default is to print off all the results on whatever page
you happen to be on. However, you can select specific records, by ticking in the little box to
the top-left of each result. NOTE: this is not the same as printing out the actual article.
Export Results – you can export up to 2000 records. The CSV file should open up
automatically in Excel. As you are only getting, at best, the abstracts, this is not a suitable
alternative to reading the full text!
Looking at each result, there are a number of things you can do.
This allows you to ‘Save to projects’ but is only available for registered users. This is
useful if you are saving articles for different assignments, and will assist you in creating
You do NOT need to request permission from the copyright holder for standard
academic use; this option is for reproducing other people’s work, and is not necessary for
most students.
Clicking on ‘Quick Abstract’ allows you to see the abstract/summary.
Download the PDF of the article.
Look at an HTML version of the result – this often allows interactive features not
present in the PDF version.
The green padlock sign indicates access via the College subscription. A greyed-out padlock
means we have not subscribed to the relevant publication, though you may still be able to
access the full text via other means (checking the College’s Journals list, Google Scholar,
Open Access).
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