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Outdated: Northwestern Elements

Northwestern Elements is web-based warehouse of information about scholarly products.

Optimize Search Settings

Current Name-based search settings in Elements

A system administrator has optimized Named-based search settings. However, if additional adjustments are needed, please exercise caution when changing search settings or consult your liaison librarian

Most search settings will be set as follows:  

•  Name= Last, First 2 initials (Ex. Smith JC)  

•  Address= Northwestern University

•  Other Identifiers were linked if available (Examples include: Researcher ID and Scopus Author ID) 

Optimizing Name-based search settings in Elements

If users are not seeing their publications, or are seeing too many publications, the search terms may need to be modified. Follow the steps to modify the search settings: 

  1. Visit Elements at
  2. Log in to Elements using your NetID and password
  3. Impersonate the desired user (For Super Users only)
  4. Click on Menu, then click on Name-based search
  5. Scroll down to the section labeled Name-based searches 
  6. Name variantsAdd separate name variants for all names the user has published under [last name, first two initials]. Make sure to add maiden names, or other first names, or any other name variant the user has published under. Click on the green plus to add search terms.
  7. Address: Add Northwestern University [and “Lurie Children’s” for faculty that work in the department of pediatrics]. To find publications from before the user was at Northwestern, add the name or city of the previous institutions at which they published. Example: If they were at Yale University, add Yale University or New Haven to the addresses search box. Click on the green plus to add search terms.
  8. Start dateMake sure the start date field is blank, unless there are too many results from before the user began publishing. If necessary, add the date the user began publishing so earlier publications are not included in the automated search. It is advised to use this carefully and only in relevant cases.
  9. Keywords: If the user publishes all of their articles in a specific field and uses the same author-supplied keywords, you can limit the search to specific keywords. Use this field carefully, as the presence of a keyword search may exclude relevant results. Click on the green plus to add search terms.
  10. Journals: If the user publishes in certain journals, it is possible to add them to the search settings. Use the journal field with caution, so as not to exclude relevant results. This will limit the search to only those journals. Click on the green plus to add search terms.
  11. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Save button to keep all of the changes that have been made
  12. Scroll up to the top of the page, to the section labeled Status, and click on Run my searches to finish optimizing Name-based search settings


Advanced Name-based search settings in Elements

Please exercise caution when changing advanced name-based search settings or consult a liaison librarian.

Specific article IDs 

Specific article IDs can be used to retrieve individual articles that can't be harvested using name-based search settings. For example, add a PubMed ID and click on the green plus button. Then save at bottom of the page and “run my searches.” The PubMed ID will bring the publications in the Pending Publication List. The individual PubMed IDs will be cleared from the page, so as not to narrow any future search. (Link for assistance finding PMID…)

Source-specific name-based search terms

Search by name: This controls which databases are searched for name-based terms. To turn off name-based searching for a specific database, or all of them, uncheck the “Search by name” box next to the desired database(s).

Please note: Turning off name-based search terms will not necessarily disable all searches if the author has claimed author identifiers (such as a Scopus author identifier or ORCID) under Automatic claiming.

Also: If a database has been deactivated using named-based searching, but is searched using an author identifier (such as an ORCID), the searched database will appear in the Status section at the top of the page.

Simple mode: This default mode is the alternative to advanced mode. Unless there is an express need for an advanced mode search, simple mode searching should suffice. This mode searches databases which are checked in the “Search by Name” column using the name-based search terms provided in section above, such as: 

(name OR name) AND (start date) AND (address OR address)

Please note: Elements is not able to restrict results based on a relationship between a single author and a single address term. In other words, in the search statement AU=Smith, JS AND AD=Cambridge, Elements will retrieve any record where there is anyone named "Smith, JS" and any address term "Cambridge." 

Advanced Mode: This mode can be very useful for creating extremely targeted searches, such as the kind that can retrieve items published with Group Authorships. In this case it is necessary to create a Boolean query to search a specific database. Common reasons for doing this include when an additional name variant is used only by this database, or when you want to define a more limited range of journals. 

To search with advanced mode:

  1. Select the Advanced mode option for the desired database
  2. Click on the “>” symbol to the left of the desired database to reveal the database-specific search text field
  3. Enter a Boolean query with the appropriate syntax for the specific database, such as: 
  4. Once the query is entered into the “search text” field, click on Save at the bottom of the page. These alternative search terms will be used during the next search.

Use default search terms (simple mode only): If a user needs to edit search terms for a specific database but prefers not to use advanced mode, they can do so with the “Use default search terms” option.

To override the default search terms:

  1. Uncheck the “Use default search terms” checkbox
  2. Click on the “>” symbol to the left of the desired database to reveal the padlocks and search terms
  3. Click on the padlocks to edit desired search terms for this database. Click on the green plus to add search terms.
  4. Once the desired edits have been made, click on Save at the bottom of the page