Papers2 includes some significant changes to searching for literature. This tutorial will cover your basic search functions, and helps you in interpreting your search results. A lot has changed in this new version of Papers, so please keep reading even if you're a seasoned Papers user!

  • The search function presents you with a number of different options right at the start of your search.


Above the search bar, you can specify whether you want to narrow down your search by content type (Articles, Books, Media, Patents, or Reports). You can also choose to just search your library of documents, or both your library and online repositories.

In addition, you can narrow down your search further if you only want to see review articles.


  • Below the search bar, you can select whether you want your search to be submitted to all repositories, or you can select one or several specific ones (for example, PubMed or Google Scholar).

Searching in one repository

  • For this tutorial, we'll first use just Google Scholar first to look for an article with the terms "health care marketing".


  • In the search results, you will notice some results are marked with blue dots, some may not have blue dots, and you will see some check marks.


If a result features a blue dot, it indicates this is a new (previously unseen) search result. By association, if the blue dot is lacking, you are looking at a search result you have seen before. When doing multiple searches and tweaking the keywords you are using, this is a great way of keeping track of which results are actually new.

The check mark indicates the paper is already in your Papers library.

Searching in multiple repositories

  • Instead of just using one database to perform your search in, Papers2 has the powerful option of searching in a variety of different search engines at once. Instead of just selecting one resource as we did above, you can click on several, or just click on "All".


When you select the "All" toggle button, you will see the "Favorites", "Papers Library", and all other search engine toggle buttons selected. The "All" button now also changes to "Reset".

In your results, you might see 2x, 3x, and so on beside some of the results. This simply tells you how many of the search engines returned that same particular result.

Tips and tricks for using the toggle buttons

The different search engine toggle buttons allow you complete control over your search. You may start a search in Google Scholar, and then you can simply expand it to include PubMed results by just clicking on the PubMed toggle button. See how the results change from just searching in Google Scholar:


And searching in both Google Scholar and PubMed:


Using the toggle buttons you can filter your results, and also get more results from different sources with a simple click. You can then also filter your results by article type as described earlier in this tutorial.

Getting more results from the same search engines

When you search directly from Papers, you have the option of accessing additional search results. You can compare it to going to the second or third page of results if you are using your browser to do a search in PubMed or Google Scholar. Simply click on the "More" button in the bottom navigation bar:

Now you will notice that first, our search results brought back 48 hits, whilst now we have 99 results to browse through.


You can clicking on the More button to retrieve more results with the same search terms, or you can use some of the toggle functions explained above to narrow down your results. Use the toggle buttons in combination with getting more results, and you will quickly discover Papers is a powerful and fast way of performing a search.

Blue Search Tokens

The blue search tokens you were used to in Papers1 have made their way back to Papers2. When you enter a search term and hit enter, you will see your search term has been transformed into a search token.


You can click on the token to define where to search for the search term (title, author, all, etc).


Guide to Search Tokens Papers helps you narrow down your search with search tokens. This is a brief overview of how you can use them in your queries.

  • Putting a few search terms in quotations marks will group them together in one search token: tokens_quotes.png

  • By not using quotes around multiple search terms, each term is separated once you hit enter. Clicking on the separator allows you to change it from the default "AND" to OR or NOT: tokens_unquote.png

  • Papers recognizes dates as such when you enter them. E.g. Entering Griekspoor 2004 automatically makes "2004" into the publication date for the search: tokens_date.png The same hold true if you enter a date range, e.g. 2004-2006 will render results between those publication dates.

  • Entering AND, OR, and NOT between search term automatically create the right search token between the terms.

  • Papers allows you to build some pretty sophisticated search queries. For example, you can narrow down your search with a combination of tokens and search rules. As you can see, the PubMed search field descriptions still work with the blue search tokens. tokens_complex_search.png

Searching your Papers Library

Searching in Papers is more powerful than ever. The same parameters you can apply to search repositories you can apply to searching your Papers library. Find the articles you want faster by using search field descriptions (e.g. [AU], [TA], [TI] or au:, so:, ti:, with search terms). When searching your library you can also find articles based on the rating you have given them. To search entries based on their rating, add "rt:***" to find articles rated with three stars. You can also use rt:3+ to find entries with three stars or more.

An example search query to find all nature articles rated with two stars or more would be: so:nature rt:2+

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