Web of Science have launched Author Finder and Scopus has of course launched Author Identifier. Both tools are supposed to assist when there are lots of variants in author listings. In this news flash Authors, Authors: Thomson Scientific and Elsevier Scopus Search Them Out by Barbara Quint at InformationToday.com 24 July 2006 you can read more about these tools.

So let’s do some evaluations of these tools by using examples from my other Author-address search evaluations in Web of Science and Scopus. Let’s try my extreme author search example on Rantapaa-Dahlqvist, S. This is a screenshot from Web of Science when searching Rantapaa in Author Index which I usually suggest to use to get more complete author searches:

Here’s a screenshot of the first step in using Author Finder in Web of Science entering the last name and first initials Rantapaa-Dahlqvist, S.:

Step 2 displays author variants. But in this case Author Finder can’t find misspelled variants of the last name, just variants of first name initials. Both 51 records of Rantapaa-Dahlqvist, S and 1 record of Rantapaa-Dahlqvist, SSRD is retrieved:

Step 3 gives you the option to choose subject categories. Those categories are based on the subject of the journal published in, not the article itself:

Step 4 is a valuable refine option called Select Institution. Here you can choose the author affiliation, but it’s not always possible to refine on department level, even if the department exist on the record. The confusing thing here is that you get all the affiliations of all authors of all articles, not just for the author you’re searching. One benefit with this refine option (which also exist in Refining you results) is you get a list of possible synonym addresses and misspelled or incomplete addresses also. If you use this option to refine your search you must be aware that all records are not complete with author addresses and refining can make you loose important records:

Let’s try searching for Stegmayr, B. You get options for Stegmayr BG and Stegmayr BK also. If you choose all variants: Stegmayr, B, Stegmayr, BG, Stegmayr, BK you get 236 records. Trying to refine in step 3 by address is just such a mess because all the author addresses from the articles are displayed. Both Stegmayr are active at the same university department. Stegmayr, BK has written one article with address DEPT INTERNAL MED, but when refining with that department name you get 2 other records instead.
Let’s search for Haglin, L with Author Finder and refine to address. In this screenshot we choose UNIV UMEA HOSP, UMEA UNIV, CTY COUNCIL VASTERBOTTEN, UNIV HOSP:

That search returns 7 hits which means 4 older records are not returned. Compare results here:

This is one of the records that will be missing because Haglin’s affiliation at that time was in Uppsala:

When searching Astrom, S in Author Finder in Web of Science there are lots of options for refining on affiliation level. Refining to UNIV HOSP will also retrieve Astrom, Siv at the Department of ophthalmology, not just Astrom, Sture at Nursing Deparment. There is no option to choose just UMEA or if you take UMEA UNIV you miss Astrom, Siv. But most strange is why DEPT OPHTHALMOL isn’t optional, though other deparments like DEPT MICROBIOL is displayed. It stands clear this refining option on Institution name is just a mess!!

Searching for author Bernspang B in Cited Ref search returns a list with one entry Bernsprang B also:

The entry Bernsprang B is a misspelled citation for her thesis:

When searching Author Finder you will not retrieve the misspelled Bernsprang when searching Bernspang:

Searching Lundin Olsson or Lundin-Olsson returns no hits either in General Search or Cited ref search. Searching LundinOlsson in Author Index retrieves both LundinOlsson ,L and LundinOlsson, I:

Checking the variant with I as first initial indicates it’s a incorrect citation:

Checking Scopus shows the record is not incorrect in their reference list:

So let’s check the Author Indentifier in Scopus. It’s integrated in Author Search. A search for Rantapaa-Dahlqvist returns three variants:

But truncated Rantapa* S* returns boths variants of Rantapaa-Dahlqvist and Rantapaa-Dahlquist:

But you also need to search Dahlqvist* s*:

An advantage in Scopus compared to Web of Science is the possibility to search fullength first name. But that doesn’t even help always. Searching Eriksson, Sture returns following screenshot:

Choosing first hit gives 66 records and three records are associated via Eriksson, S-E. It’s not the same person as Eriksson, Sture at Umea university. Eriksson, S-E affiliation 2001 was Falun hospital:

Hit 9 doesn’t show affiliation but when checking the hit the record has affiliation connected in the record:

Hit 2 when checking has also affiliation at the record and shows up being Eriksson, Sture at Umea university and hit 3 and 10 are Eriksson, Sture at Umea university but none of them are connected to the first hit of Eriksson, Sture with 66 records. That’s not an improvement, that’s confusing.

The good thing is though that Eriksson, Staffan (same first initial as Sture) at the same department as Eriksson, Sture is not connected here in the search for Eriksson, Sture, which is a problem in Web of Science, as they are not using fulllength first name.

Conclusion: Author finder in Web of Science could be hazardous for detecting possible misspellings of author names. The refining option of Institution Name in Author finder presents a nice overview but is really hazardous because the addresses don’t refer just to the author, instead all co-authors also! All address information is not always possible to include and excluding options are not available. I suggest using Author Index instead.

Scopus Author Identifier has some improvements, though there still are serious flaws existing. Misspellings are still a problem and not solved in this new algorithm.