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PHYS/ASTR 040: Expanding Ideas of Time and Space: Using the ADS

A guide with library resources for this course.

Tricks for Using the ADS

The main way to search for astronomy articles, books, and gray literature is to use the Astrophysics Data System.

The main ADS page.

The main page has helpful search operator examples that can assist you in building a search. The results page also allows for faceting after you have searched — if you are investigating a new topic, you can always search for something broader and refine based on the results you are seeing.

Here is the link to ADS' modern search:

ADS now has a "classic" version that combines some of the features from the former ADS interface, now with the intuitive benefits of Integrated Search. Find it by clicking the "Classic" tab:

The ADS maintains three bibliographic databases containing more than 9.6 million records: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics, and arXiv e-prints. The main body of data in the ADS consists of bibliographic records, which are searchable through highly customizable query forms, and full-text scans of much of the astronomical literature which can be browsed or searched via their full-text search interface.

Other important search features are available. The About ADS section and the ADS help pages are useful to review.

A Tutorial Video from the Royal Astronomical Society

What Do We Have Access To?

Search for the journal you want on this page: If the journal isn't there, we probably do not have it electronically. If the journal is there, look at the date information below its title. You can also use the Citation Linker to look up a specific article.

Do we have it in print? We don't have electronic back files for all of our journals. Search in QuickSearch Books+ for the journal title and be patient. If it's an international journal — which often means that the original language of the journal is German or Russian — there may be some interesting transliteration or translation idiosyncrasies in the library catalog. English-language names are often mapped to the original language's publication name.

We recommend enclosing any journal title in quotation marks (e.g., "Journal of Interesting Science") so the catalog searches for the phrase instead of each individual word. You can also search for the journal by its 8-digit ISSN. (But be careful, as some journals have multiple ISSNs for electronic, print, and some legacy versions.) If you spend more than 20 minutes on this, send your subject librarian an email. 

If you have tried all of the above and we do not seem to have it, use Interlibrary Loan or contact your subject specialist. 

If you tried everything, it says we have access, and you appear to not have access, several things could be going wrong. First, if you are off-campus, double check that you are on the VPN or that you are using the Yale proxy URL to access the resource.

You can easily tell if you are on the VPN by visiting this page. If you've lost a VPN connection, that page will tell you. If you are using the proxy URL, "" will be somewhere in the URL. You can also try to add to an https:// URL to enable the proxy server. An example of this in practice is

Most often, problems connecting to resources happen because a website has saved cookies in your browser. Clear your browser's cookies for the journal/aggregator's web site and try again. 

If none of the above works, contact your subject specialistYour subject specialist may loop in others, such as the e-resources troubleshooting team.