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Inspec®: Searchable Fields

A guide to all aspects of Inspec® including content, searching, and viewing results on the new ProQuest platform.

Inspec® Thesaurus

The Inspec® Thesaurus is a subject key to the Inspec database providing a user with a method of searching for information using standardized terminology. Using “controlled terms” can be extremely beneficial for the searcher. Focused and accurate search results are produced, which often include highly relevant information that would have been missed if keyword searches were relied on alone.

These “controlled terms” are applied by an editorial team comprised of qualified engineers and scientists who are experts in their own subject areas. Their experience gives them the ability to recognize the technologies described in documents, irrespective of the words the author used. They select the terms that best describe these technologies and enter them into the Inspec record where they can be searched.

The 2016 edition of the Thesaurus contains approximately 18800 terms of which about 9,860 are controlled terms, and the remaining ones are "Lead-In" 1 terms. Every Inspec record contains at least one term, but as many as are required to fully describe the important themes within the document will be present.

A typical entry in the Inspec Thesaurus term is as follows:

Subject aircraft control
Date of Introduction (DI) January 1989
Prior Term(s) (PT)                                            aerospace, aircraft
Classification Code(s) (CC) C3360L aerospace control
Used for (UF) helicopter control
More Specific (Narrower) Term(s) (NT) aircraft landing guidance
More General (Broader) Term(s) (BT) aerospace control, aircraft
Top Term(s) (TT) automation, computer applications, vehicles
Related Term(s) (RT) aircraft computers, aircraft instrumentation, attitude control, avionics, instrument landing systems, microwave landing systems

DI (Date of Introduction) – The date a term was introduced to the thesaurus. Search results will not contain records that were added to the database before this date. To include the older records use a Prior Term if available.

PT (Prior Term(s)) – A term that has been replaced with a more current one. Use to include older records in  search results. Prior terms are usually more general in scope than the current terms.

CC (Classification Code) – Inspec Classification codes that cover the same subject area as searchable by the main term

UF - (Used For) – Non-searchable cross references from thesaurus entries. For example the above entry directs you to use the controlled term “aircraft control” when interested in helicopter controls.

NT (Narrower Terms) – A hierarchical term used to search for more specific examples of the subject of the Main Term

BT (Broader Terms) – A hierarchical term used to search for more general examples of the subject of the Main Term

TT (Top Terms) – Terms at the top of a hierarchy used to search for the most general example of the subject of the Main Term

RT (Related Terms) – Terms from other hierarchies used to search for topics related to the subject described by the Main Term

Other fields that might be present

Scope Notes – Scope notes clarify the intended use of the main term.

Date of Deletion – Date on which a terms ceased to be applied. Records added to the database after this date cannot be recovered using this term.

1 The Thesaurus also contains “Lead – In” terms. These are not searchable terms themselves but they can be used to locate the correct thesaurus term to be used. E.g. looking up DBMS (database management systems) in the thesaurus would yield the following entry

     DBMS - USE database management systems

DBMS is not a term itself. It’s entry on the thesaurus is to direct you to the correct terms to use. In this case “database management systems”.

Look Ups and Browsable Indexes

Inspec® offers six Look ups or browsable indexes, so you can easily find spelling or format variations of, for example, an author's name or a journal title. You can find the Look up links in the advanced search page and they are available for the following searchable fields: author, publication title, subject heading, IPC classification, Inspec® classification. 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 browsable index, select the field from the advanced search pull-down menu. If a Look up is available, under the search row you will see a link to theLook up. Other Look ups and browsable indexes will be listed in the Limit To section of the advanced search page.

Select the Look up link and then you will see a browsable 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.

Searchable Fields

For a full list of all the specific numeric indexing fields and how to search them please refer to the numeric indexing section on the Inspec search fields page in the ProQuest Platform Help.

 Field Name


 Search Examples & Explanation



AB("truss optimization" PRE/6 "continuous variables")

Use adjacency and/or Boolean operators to narrow search results.

Abstract present


"evolutionary computing" AND ABANY(yes)

Add: AND ABANY(YES) to a query to limit retrieval to records with abstracts.

Accession Number/      ProQuest Document ID



A unique document identification number assigned by the information provider.

All Fields


ALL(icde N/10 optimization nguyen AND "ho-huu")

ALL searches for keywords in the citation and abstract. It is a full record search, but does not include a search on the full text.

All Fields + Text


icde N/10 optimization nguyen AND "ho-huu"

Same as ALL field code: searches all fields in bibliographic files.

Astronomical object indexing


ASI("ngc 3393"), ASI(3393), ASI("iras 18264-1152" OR "iras 05358+3543"), ASI("18264-1152" OR "05358+3543")

Available in some records added since 1995.



AU("nguyen thoi, t")

Use to find documents written by a particular author. Try searching on both the full first name and initials in order to retrieve all publications by a specific author. Can be searched as (last name, first name) or (first name last name).

First Author


FAU("ho huu, v")

First name listed in Author field. It is included in Author Browse field, but its position cannot be specified there.

Author Affiliation


AF("ton duc thang" AND vietnam)

Use to search on additional author information such as institutional affiliation, location of institution, and if provided, the email address of the author can sometimes appear in this field.

Chemical Indexing 1


CI("si-al-au int"), CI("ce - el"), CI("si - int" AND "si - el"), CI(fe AND si), CI(gaas bin)

Displays with label Substance. Available in some records added since 1987. CI searches both the substance(s) and/or role(s).

Cited References


RF("d data" LNK "applied soft computing" LNK 2011), RF(camp AND chen AND data), RF((datta LNK "applied soft computing" LNK 2011) AND (chen LNK "engineering optimization" LNK 2008))

Cited reference data is present in fewer than 10% of records in Inspec.

References are displayed in the Abstract field. The content of references differ based on the type of work cited.  For a journal reference, the cited author name(s), article title, publication title, volume, publication year, and DOI are typically given.

Use LNK to explicitly search multiple parts of the same reference.

Use AND if you want to search for multiple references within a single record.

Number of Cited References



Classification Codes


CC(E2180*), CC("buckling and instability")

Use Classification Codes when searching specific topics. Classification Codes are a fast way to precisely target a search by topic, industry or market, geographical area, or article type.

Also searchable using field code INSPCC.

Major Classification


MJCC("general shapes"), MJCC(E2110A)

Displays in Classification field.

Classification (IPC) 2


IPC(E04C 3/00), IPC(F16M), IPC(E04C 3/00: Structural elongated elements)

Available in records added since 1969.




Conference Information


CF("xii international scientific colloquium")

Conference Country



Conference Location


CG("san jose, ca")

Conference Title


CFTI(2011 AND "neural networks")

Digital Object Identifiers



Search for documents with DOIs using the DOI search. It is a unique identifier assigned to a document that is registered through the International DOI Foundation.

Search the portion of the DOI that comes after Video presentations at the IET Web site are linked from some documents. To locate them, add the query: doi( to your search.

Document Title


TI(optimization AND "truss structure*")

Locates the occurrence of search words in the title of the article. Includes Title, Alternate title and Subtitle, but not Publication title (PUB).

Title Only


TIO("truss structure*")

Searches only the Title, not Subtitle or Alternate title.

Document Treatment


DTX(p), DTX(practical), DTX(x AND t), DTX(experimental AND theoretical)

First used in 1971. Multiple treatment codes may apply to a single document.

Document Type


DTYPE(book), DTYPE(journal PRE/1 paper*), DTYPE("conference paper"), DTYPE(report NOT "report section")

Use this to find specific document types such as article, book, essay, and market research.



ED("smith, j*")

First Available



Indicates the first time a document was loaded in a specific database on PQD. It will not change regardless of how many times the record is subsequently reloaded - as long as the accession number does not change.

From Database


SU("structural engineering") AND FDB(10000135)

Use in multi-file searches to isolate records from a single file.  FDB cannot be searched on its own; specify at least one search term then AND it with FDB.

Identifier (keyword)


IF("constrained differential evolution")

Images and Figures





ISSN(0957-4174), ISSN(09574174)

This search field looks for the eight digit International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), where available. Hyphens are optional.




Use to search the issue number of a resource.




Use to locate the original language of the document. All Inspec abstracts are in English.




This field can only be searched if the database has a thesaurus. The prefix MAINSUBJECT will be added to your search when you select the term from the Thesaurus or if you type the mnemonic. MAINSUBJECT is a way to limit to the subject heading originating from the thesaurus and does not include the use of terms coming from the location index, person index, company index or other classification terms. To search on terms that incorporate all of these subject and index terms, please use the Subject Heading field (SU).



PG(7057-69), PG(7057)

Page ranges can be searched, but we recommend to search only the start page.

Patent Inventor


inv(Goodwin, e. c.)

Patent Application Date



Patent Assignee


AP("lucas elec co. ltd.")

Patent Priority Application Number



Patent Publication Date



Patent Publication Number



Patent Publication Country



Results are derived from publication and priority country field information.

Publication Date


PD(20151115), PD(20150701-20151231)

Date range searching is supported.

Publication Year


PY(2015), PY(2013-2015)

Date range searching is supported.

Publication Title


PUB("expert systems with applications"), PUB(nature)

Publications are also searchable in the publication lookup list in advanced search.

Publisher Location


PBLOC(netherlands), PBLOC(london)

Use to locate articles published in a specific place.

Publisher Name


PB(elsevier), PB("wuhan university")

For dissertation-type records the publisher name field contains the university name.

Report Number



Source type



Use to find a specific source type such as books, newspapers, and scholarly journals.

Subject Heading(All)


SU("mechanical engineering")

Use the subject search field to look for articles about a specific subject. A search for the subject heading "mechanical engineering" will find articles within the subject field and the keyword field (IF). To run an exact subject search where "mechanical engineering" is retrieved in the subject field only, search using EXACT.

SU.EXACT("mechanical engineering")

Substance 1


SUBST("si-al-au int"), SUBST("ce - el"), SUBST("si - int" and "si - el"), SUBST(fe and si), SUBST(gaas bin)

Available in some records from January 1987 onwards. Chemical indexing is structured to search both the substance(s) and/or role(s).

Summary Language



Language of abstract. All abstracts are in English.




Use to search for the volume of a resource.

1 Chemical Indexing Roles - Chemical indexing is displayed in the Substance field and is searchable with the SUBST and CI field codes. Roles can be searched on their own – e.g. SUBST(INT), or in combination with an element or molecule – e.g. SUBST("H2SO4–SS"). The following roles are also searchable:

ADS Adsorbate or any sorbate (i.e., any species being (ad)sorbed onto a substrate)
BIN Binary system (2 elements, whether compound or alloy, and regardless of the relative proportions of the two)
DOP Dopant
EL Element
INT Interface System
SS System with three or more components
SUR Surface or Substrate

2 International Patent Classification (IPC) - IPC classification codes may be applied to ALL record types – not just patent records. Finding research and prior art relating to filed patents is simplified by the presence of IPC codes in Inspec records.
Note that IPC codes are mapped to Inspec's own classification coding system; since IPC coding is very precise, there may not always be a one-to-one match, so you should use broader IPC codes to ensure accurate retrieval.
The following is a link to WIPO's own IPC classification look-up. It is arranged hierarchically and can be used to find appropriate codes for searching: