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International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS): Searchable Fields

A guide to all aspects of International Bibliography of the Social Sciences including content, searching and viewing results on the ProQuest platform.


The ProQuest Thesaurus is used to index the IBSS subject field. Subject terms are found in the subject field and this field is part of the searchable fields table to the right. Subject terms are also commonly known as descriptors. controlled vocabulary, and sometimes classification terms. In IBSS there are different subject types. 

The thesaurus allows you to find subject terms to narrow or broaden your search and is available from the Advanced and Command Line search. If you want to run a search on a subject, but you do not know what term to use, use the thesaurus to search the controlled vocabulary. A hierarchical display is available and will give you suggestions on the appropriate subject terms to add to your search. 

To use the thesaurus, select the Thesaurus link from the Advanced or Command Line search page, then browse or search for subjects containing the word or beginning with the word. Mark the items that you would like to search and then select the appropriate Boolean operator to combine your items. Click the Add to search button and your terms will be placed into the search form. Run your search to include the subject terms (adding additional search fields and terms if needed).

Look Ups and Browsable Indexes

IBSS offers three Look ups or browseable indexes, so you can easily find spelling or format variations of, for example, an author's name or journal title. You can find the Look up links in the Advanced search page and they are available for the following searchable fields: authorpublication title and subject. For a description of these fields, please see the Searchable fields table to the right.

Note: Look ups are also available from the Command Line search (through the Look up terms link).

To use and locate a Look up or browseable index, select the field from the Advanced search pull-down menu. If a Look up is available, next to the search row you will see a link to the Look up (i.e. "Look up Authors").

Click the Look up link and then you will see a browseable and alphabetical index for that field. There are some indexes that will not display an alphabetical list before searching for the term, rather you will have to enter a term first, and then the alphabetical list of matches will display. 

Once you locate the index term that you would like to add to your search, mark the item, and then click the "Add to Search" button. The index term will now appear in the Advanced search form along with the appropriate pull-down menu selection. Note that you may select multiple terms and join them with a Boolean operator AND or OR before clicking the "Add to Search" button.

Searchable Fields

Field Name


Search Examples & Explanation



AB(nuclear proliferation)                   

IBSS started including abstracts in 1997 and today approximately 80% of all current journal articles entering the IBSS database contain searchable abstracts.  

In 2003/04, IBSS started to include abstracts in French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese in any or all of these languages (as well as English) whenever they are available.

A foreign language abstract will be used instead of an English-language abstract when no English-language abstract is available.



AU(bastien jw)                   

AU(bastien joseph)

AU(bastien joseph w)

AU(bastien joseph william)

Author names will generally be indexed as shown in the original article. The standard format is Last Name, First Name. We do recommend that you use the Author Name Lookup for searches to ensure a comprehensive result set.

Document Title


TI(Adapting to Europe: is it harder for Britain)

The English title of a document. This is the original title for English language records, or a translation for non-English records. For book reviews the title shown here is the title of the book which has been reviewed.




The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique 10 digit number identifying every book. As of 2007 ISBNs are 13 digits. Use this number to order a copy of the book or search your library catalogue. Hyphens are optional.




The International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is used to uniquely identify any serial publication worldwide. If known, it can be the quickest and most accurate way to search for records stemming from a particular journal. Not all journals have an ISSN. Hyphens are optional.

Publication Title


PUB(economic theory)                                            

This field contains the publication name of a periodical, it displays as part of the source information. This field is word indexed allowing for easy retrieval. You may wish to consult the Look up Publications for a comprehensive list of journal names.

Subject Heading SU

SU(d.s. mirsky)




The update field consists of an eight digit date in the format YYYYMMDD. The database is updated weekly.