Help with bibliographies: APh Updated!

As practicing classicists will know, the field’s major bibliographic database, L’Année Philologique, moved to a new home late last year. That means that our previous posts on the EBSCO and self-hosted versions of APh are a little out of date. In this post, we update the major points about how to use the new APh interface. You should still refer to the previous posts for information about what this database is, its history, and why you should use it. 

Like its previous versions, the new APh Online is a subscription-only service, which means that you will need to access it through your institution’s library login. I’ll start my post with the assumption that you’ve logged in.

The landing page has several options for your initial search.

l'annes philologique landing pace

First, let’s notice a few differences from the previous editions. APh now tells you when its last update was (in this case, September 29, 2017). That means you know how limited your results are likely to be, and can use alternative methods to find even more sources.

You can choose between the Simple Search (default) and the Advanced Search (currently grayed out) for your searches. Right now, we’re working with the Simple Search. That’s because the Advanced Search is a little overwhelming (check out the screenshot) and is only going to be useful for very specific searches — for example, if you are trying to find a bibliography item that has been mis-referenced.l'annee philologique advanced search

For most bibliographic needs, the Simple Search will provide good coverage, and it can be  further refined once you see how many results you have.

TIP: Search smart! Using Booleans and precise terminology can help you get the results you want.

For this demonstration, I searched for the Latin word mundus. As you can see, there were just over 100 results, and the default listing is in reverse chronological order (that is, the newest works are at the top):

l'annee philologique results list

You can click on Author or Title to sort your results alphabetically from A to Z (click twice for Z to A). Similarly, you can click on Year to sort your results in chronological order (from oldest to most recent).

As in previous versions of the website, clicking on the title, author, or year will bring you to the Record page. This page gives you more information about where to find the item in question, as well as (usually) a brief overview of contents.

l'annes philologique record page, annotated

Let’s take a look at this page in more detail, since it’s the most valuable part of an APh search. I’ve put some annotations around key features, but we’ll talk about some other parts of the page as well.

The first items you’ll see are the Record number (in bold), which corresponds to the numbers in the main result page. This record is your first result, and you have the option of checking the box next to that number if you want to save this result. New for this version of APh, you can click “Find full text” next to the Record number, and APh will work with your library interface to locate this material. I’ve tried this feature out, and it’s super — if your library doesn’t have the book or article, APh also works with your library website to import all of the information into an Interlibrary Loan form.

TIP: If you are working from a smaller library, it’s worth your time to go through all of your results and save the top hits, then use APh to help you locate the articles and books you want at your institution or elsewhere. It saves a lot of copying/pasting from an APh export list into your library website!

Also new, APh links to the Google Books preview of any material available on Google Books. This way, you can search for specific content that you’re interested in. To get there, click the Google logo. (NB at the time of writing, the Google link was not working. But it has worked in the past, so we’re hoping it’s a short-term error!)

The next parts of the Record page are straightforward: Type of publication (article in journal/book, Book, etc.), Author, Title of work. We like the Language entry (#2 on the diagram), which tells you that this article is in German (notice that even though the website itself is in English by default for US users, the language choice is supplied in French): if you are still working on your languages, you can save yourself some time by choosing materials in languages you know.

The Abstract (#3) tells you more details about this article. As we’ve mentioned before, the language of the abstract isn’t always the language of the article itself, so be careful! But in this case, both article and abstract are in German. This is my favorite feature of APh, because by reading this abstract, I know that this article is about modern forgeries, rather than the Romulean hole in the middle of the Forum. So I don’t need to borrow this item from my library.

Some items in here are a holdover from previous print editions of APh. #1 gives you the APh record number, which can be helpful if your ILL librarian can’t locate an article you find on APh. And #4 shows you the subject categories that this article falls into. If we look at the first page again, you’ll see that subjects are one of the ways that you can search APh:

edited main page of l'annee philologique

I have always found these subjects (“Disciplines” in APh terms) to be too broad to be useful, but your mileage may vary.

Finally, if you look at the arrow in the top bar, you’ll see a number of options for navigating through the Record pages.

l'annes philologique record page, annotated

Result overview will take you back to the list of 114 results. Next will take you to the next Record page — in this case, to #2. Hide classification will get rid of the subject classifications (#4) and finish the page at the bottom of the AbstractExport sends the results to your email or bibliographic reference software — right now, APh only supports Endnote, Refworks, and anything that can import an Excel or TXT file. And Refine search allows you to adjust the parameters of your search by returning to the main page with all of your initial search terms saved. For example, here is our search after hitting Refine search:

l'annee philologique prepopulated search for mundus


Notice that mundus is prepopulated in the All fields box, and that you also have your number of hits: 114. As you add new search terms, that number will decrease (or increase, depending on how you change the search).

l'annee philologique search for mundus cereris

By adding Cereris, we’ve knocked 110 results off the list.

If you have trouble at any point, you can also click on the ? icon to get the help file targeted to that particular part of APh. Or you can ask us your question and we’ll answer it in a later post!



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