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The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database provides indexing to articles, books, news reports, obituaries, motion picture reviews and other material about science fiction and fantasy. Some coverage of horror, gothic and utopian literature is included. Fiction, such as novels or short stories, is not indexed here. Book reviews are not indexed.

Current Awareness

Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database can be used as a current awareness tool. The key to using the database in this way is to use the "Advanced Search" option. Choose "Imprint" for the first field, and enter the year, as, 2000. If you wish to limit the search to a particular author or subject, choose the appropriate field in the second search box, and enter the search string.

Typically, new material is entered on a quarterly basis, and the complete output for a given calendar year is not available until mid to late summer. This web version of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Reference Index is under regular review and improvement.

Read the introduction, and search notes and instructions, and scan the thesaurus of standard terms to to identify the terms used in the database. Taking the time to read through this material will explain some historical quirks to the indexing, and show how to use the search options most effectively.

I encourage you to submit items you believe should be in the database. A suggestion form is included. Simply click on the "Suggest Additions" button, and fill in the details for the item you are suggesting. In some cases, your browser or mail system will not send a message properly. If you have difficulty with the form, mail your suggestion to Hal-Hall@tamu.edu.

The database covers material about science fiction, fantasy, horror, motion pictures, and related literary and cinematic topics, most from English-language sources. Quarterly updates are planned.

A note on the search syntax

A change in the way searching is performed has been implemented in the latest version of the database. By default, searches are performed over all fields of the database, and the query is treated as natural language. The results are automatically sorted with the most relevant results listed first. Because the database is looking at all the fields, you may see results that don't appear to include your search term; it's probably in the subject terms.

There are a few important things to be aware of with the natural language search:

  1. very common English words (stop words) are not included in the search, and will be automatically dropped
  2. words which appear in more than 50% of the records in the database will also be dropped from the search

If you need more control over the search, you can use several operators in your query which will push the search into boolean mode. In boolean mode:

  • + stands for AND
  • - stands for NOT
  • no operator implies OR

Below is a full description of the various operators that are available in a boolean mode search. These operators can be combined in many powerful ways to create complex queries:

+
A leading plus sign indicates that this word must be present in each row that is returned.
-
A leading minus sign indicates that this word must not be present in any of the rows that are returned.
(no operator)
By default (when neither + nor - is specified) the word is optional, but the rows that contain it are rated higher.
> <
These two operators are used to change a word's contribution to the relevance value that is assigned to a row. The > operator increases the contribution and the < operator decreases it.
~
A leading tilde acts as a negation operator, causing the word's contribution to the row's relevance to be negative. This is useful for marking “noise” words. A row containing such a word is rated lower than others, but is not excluded altogether, as it would be with the - operator.
*
The asterisk serves as the truncation (or wildcard) operator. Unlike the other operators, it should be appended to the word to be affected. Words match if they begin with the characters preceding the * operator.
"
A phrase that is enclosed within double quote characters matches only rows that contain the phrase literally, as it was typed.

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