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Scopus had a scheduled outage last Saturday. I used it yesterday and got
results I can't explain. I talked with their help desk (and later sent
some screen shots), but I thought I'd alert folks -- I don't think it's
just me (this time). (They haven't gotten back to me about this yet;
I'll report when they do.)
 
Their documentation says that searches aren't case-sensitive, but I got
differing results with various versions of Factor VIII (factor viii,
FACTOR VIII, etc.). I always put the phrase in quotes.
 
While their documentation always shows Boolean operators in capital
letters, there's no note (that I could find) that says they must be in
capital letters. Yet when I combined several search statements using
"OR", I got different results than when I combined the same search
statements with "or".
 
You Scopus searchers know that when you do a search there, and then go
back to the search screen, your previous typing is still there, and you
need to click "clear" for a blank search box. On their Advanced Search
screen, I searched for two words using a proximity operator. I tried
doing that same search several times, just by re-clicking "search" (NOT
retyping anything) -- and got differing results. For one phrase I did it
eight times and got five different numbers of hits.
 
And yet, in both the Factor VIII and the proximity situations, when I
used AND NOT to see the citations that were in a larger set but not in a
smaller set, I got the "no results" message.
 
I go absolutely nuts when I get inconsistent, non-reproducible results
like this. I don't know if this is a wrinkle brought about by their work
on Saturday, or whether it's been happening all along (shudder). Has
anybody else noticed this?
 
Gretchen Hallerberg, MS, MSLS, AHIP
Director, Cleveland Clinic Alumni Library
9500 Euclid Avenue  NA 30
Cleveland, OH 44195
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