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    4.1 - Word Equivalences

    The abstract server has a number of features which have been developed in order to improve searching the dataset. These include the use of synonyms, stop words, and word translations.

    By default, each search term specified in the title, abstract, or author query field triggers a search for all the term's synonyms as well as the term itself. The use of synonym searches for text words has been established to equate different tenses of the same verb, different genders of the same name, as well as different words with the same meaning. In addition, we use synonyms to perform foreign language translations, to equate foreign words with their English counterpart. This feature can be turned off by modifying the default settings. For authors, synonym replacement allows the user to search on an author's name and get back any alternative or incorrect spellings of which we are aware. For example, the author synonym pair "A'HEARN, M" and "AHEARN, M" allows users to search on either spelling and retrieve abstracts which contain either spelling. If you are aware of an author name, misspelling, or foreign word translation which does not seem to be working correctly, please inform us by email to ads@cfa.harvard.edu

    We maintain a list of stop words which are words that are removed from queries before they are processed. These are words commonly used in the English language with great frequency, as well as adverbs, prepositions and any other words not carrying a significant meaning when used in a scientific context.

    Last, we perform word translations for certain terms or patterns which are conventionally written in a few different ways. This is most commonly done with astronomical object names (e.g. "M 31" and "M31"), as well as some composite words (e.g. "X RAY", "X-RAY" and "XRAY"). The list of words which are currently translated is available. If you are aware of others which should be included, please inform us by email to ads@cfa.harvard.edu





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