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 May 6, 2005 [posted]
 Full Author Searching Comes to PubMed®

drop cap letter for n LM includes full author names on MEDLINE/PubMed records for articles published from 2002 forward (see MEDLINE® Data Changes - 2002. NLM Tech Bull. 2001 Nov-Dec;(323):e11.). This data, which can be seen in the FAU field on PubMed's MEDLINE format (see Figure 1), was not searchable. A high percentage of records for recent articles include full author names; therefore, we plan to make full author name searching available soon (see Figure 2).

    FAU    -    Burstein, Harold J
    AU      -    Burstein HJ
    FAU    -    Polyak, Kornelia
    AU      -    Polyak K
    FAU    -    Wong, Julia S
    AU      -    Wong JS
    FAU    -    Lester, Susan C
    AU      -    Lester SC
    FAU    -    Kaelin, Carolyn M
    AU      -    Kaelin CM
Figure 1: Part of a citation in the MEDLINE
Format Showing Full Author Name Data

  figure 2: graphic

Full author names can also be searched using the Single Citation Matcher (see Figure 3). Full author names cannot be used with the first author name search feature, however (see the article, Single Citation Matcher Enhanced: First Author Search and Autocomplete for Journal Names Added. NLM Tech Bull. 2005 May-Jun;(344):e3.).

  figure 3: graphic

Important Notes Regarding Full Author Names in PubMed:

  • Searching by full author name limits to citations to articles published from 2002 forward, and to journals that publish using the full names of authors. For comprehensive results, use conventional author searching, i.e., lastname + initial(s).

  • Unlike conventional author searching (e.g., smith js), full author searching can be in either natural or inverted order:
    julia s wong
    wong julia s

  • When searching a full name using the inverted order, a comma following the last name is generally optional, omit periods after initials, and put all suffixes, e.g., Jr, at the end. For example, to search for the author Bruce J. Herron, you may use any of the following formats:
    herron, bruce j
    herron bruce j
    bruce j herron

  • Names entered in inverted order do not require a comma following the last name. For some names, however, it is necessary to distinguish which name is the last name by using the comma following the last name:
    ryan, james
    james, ryan

  • Conventional author searching may now require more careful entry. When combining multiple authors (e.g., James and Ryan), in order to avoid a match with a full author name, include initials, or use the [au] search tag and Boolean AND:
    ryan d james e
    ryan [au] AND james [au]

    Also, there may be instances where a name in the Author field, e.g., AU - Peterson DO, matches a full author name, e.g., FAU - Peterson, Do. To distinguish the former, use double quotes and the [AU] search tag, e.g., "peterson do" [au].

  • Full author names have two parts: a last name and a forename. In the FAU field, the last name appears first followed by a comma, a space, then the forename (see Figure 1). The forename includes the rest of the name that is not the last name or a suffix, e.g., Jr. (Honorifics, e.g., Ph.D., are never included in name fields).

  • Full author name searching allows for automatic truncation of the forename. If you don't know the middle initial, do not use the truncation symbol, enter only the last and first names, example: herron bruce. As with conventional author searching, if you include a middle initial, you will only retrieve citations for articles that were published using the middle initial. Similarly, if you include a suffix, e.g., 3rd, you will only retrieve citations to articles with this in the name.

  • Names with multiple middle initials, e.g., Peter F H Schwab, have a space in between the initials. In this example, searching peter schwab, peter f schwab, or peter f  h schwab will retrieve the expected results.

  • Some full author names occur in the database in more than one way. This is an entry where the name, Castro is part of the last name:
    FAU - Castro Cabezas, Manuel

    This is an entry from another citation for the same author, where Castro is part of the forename:
    FAU - Cabezas, Manuel Castro

    Searching this name as manuel castro cabezas will retrieve both occurrences.

    NLM is interested in correcting mistakes in the splitting of a compound last name. As these errors are not obvious, we rely on authors to identify these mistakes in their citations.

  • Full author searching should not be used if you do not know the author's first name. If you know only the last name and initials or just the last name, use Author field search techniques, e.g., herron s or   herron [au].

  • The search tags, [full author name] or [fau] are generally not necessary and should not be used in the Single Citation Matcher.

  • You can browse full author names in the Full Author Name index available on the Preview/Index screen. Select Full Author Name on the fields pull-down menu, enter a last name in the box, and click on Index.

  • Names on PubMed citations will continue to display in the Summary, Abstract, and Citation formats using the data from the Author field, i.e., last name + initial(s). The full names can be seen in the MEDLINE and XML formats.

  • NLM cannot edit PubMed records to add full names that are not shown on the original publication, nor will NLM add full names to citations indexed prior to 2002 even if they appeared on the original publication.

Please keep in mind that an author may not have used a consistent form of his or her name over the years in various articles/journals. The ability to search on full author names does not ensure comprehensive retrieval even from 2002 forward.

Errors in Full Author Names
Following the processing and quality assurance checks performed on new citations, full author names in PubMed reflect what appears on the published article from the format (print or electronic) that NLM uses for indexing. Users who notice spelling errors in full author names on citations tagged with [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] or [PubMed] are referred to the NLM fact sheet, Errata, Retraction, Duplicate Publication, Comment, Update and Patient Summary Policy for MEDLINE®. Errors on "in process" citations should not be reported as they have not completed our quality assurance checks.

By Annette M. Nahin
MEDLARS Management Section

black line separting article from citation

Nahin AM. Full Author Searching Comes to PubMed®. NLM Tech Bull. 2005 May-Jun;(344):e4.


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