Index Sciathericus

Standard Search

Results are always shown with the most relevant articles at the top of the list. The ranking is based on the number of occurances of your search words found in each article.

Article titles and author names are used to find the requested words. Depending on the publication, the search may also apply to the article text, including footnotes, endnotes, and captions.

To find an exact phrase, put it in quote marks "like this". An exact phrase can be combined with a list of other words when specifying a search. Letter case is ignored.

Plurals and other variants of words are not handled automatically. For example, rise and rises are considered as different words. However, you can use an asterisk, *, as a wildcard symbol for matching words that start the same way but have different endings. For example, ris* will match articles containing rise, rises, risen, risible, etc.

Using any of +-@><()~ causes an error message. As well, the asterisk wildcard, *, causes an error if it is used except at the end of a sequences of letters; also if it is used anywhere inside a quoted string (phrase search). Other punctuation symbols are not blocked, but using them may have undesired consequences.

Accented letters should be matched by unmodified letters given in search words. However, this functionality requires further testing.

Expert Search

This option requires the search terms to conform to MySQL Boolean Full-text Search syntax. The search pattern is applied across the article title, authors (not normalized), and article text columns of a database table that has one row per article. Note that Index Sciathericus is implemented using an InnoDB database structure with UTF-8 character encoding throughout.

Scope of the Index

The Compendium (NASS): Searches title, author(s), and article text; all volumes from launch to 2020. No downloads.

The Bulletin (BSS): Searches title and author(s) only; all volumes from launch to 2020. No downloads.

Exceptions apply if individual authors have either provided additional permissions or requested exclusions.


In most cases, Index Sciathericus does not offer online access to the articles themselves. A clickable 💾 icon is shown if an article can be downloaded from here, and a clickable 🔗 icon is used if the article is available on another website; in any other case, refer to your subscription copy of the publication or contact the publisher to purchase it.

Stop Words

The underlying MySQL database attempts to make searching more efficient by removing some commons words (called Stop Words) as it prepares a record for subsequent searching. There is also a minimum word length of 3 letters. These rules have unwanted (for us) consequences:

a. 1 and 2 letter search words are not allowed, except that

-- some, but not all, ARE allowed inside quoted strings used for phrase searching,

-- a single letter followed by an asterisk is allowed as a search pattern, but even this does not produce a match for a one or two letter word in an article.

b. The following words with 3 or more letters are Stop Words and are not allowed as search words: about, are, com, for, from, how, that, the, this, und, was, what, when, where, who, will, with, www.

Even when allowed by word length, it is not usually helpful to have common words as search words. For example, the word dial is used very frequently in sundial publications. Searching for it may not help you home in on the most relevant articles about your topic.

Other Quirks and Restrictions

Because a dot acts as a period (fullstop), it is considered as a word seperator - just like a space. Consequently, when a dot appears as a decimal point in the middle of a number, the number ends up getting treated as two seperate 'words'. For example, 3.14 is treated as 3 followed by 14.

Hyphenated words are treated as seperate words. As well, a hyphen inserted by a word processor to break a word at the end of a line of text results in the two parts being treated as seperate words.

For publications that allow the full article text to be included in the index:

- searches using "quoted strings" for exact phrases may not function correctly. This is because text extracted from a PDF document does not always match the order of words in the original document from which the PDF was created. In particular, captions for figures may be interpreted as part of the adjacent sentences. As well, layouts using multiple columns may disrupt sentence order.

- Problems may arise with superscript symbols such as those indicating footnotes. Their positions may have been misinterpreted during processing of an article's PDF file for loading into the database. The resulting misplaced characters interfere with proper matching of your search terms against the article text. Related issues arise for mathematical formulae.

- Graphical text, meaning text within an article's pictures and diagrams, is not recognized.

- Documents may have been processed using whole pages so, if a page contains the end of one article and the start of another, the text found on that page is attributed to both articles. This is something that can be corrected by manual edit of the database - please report any instances that you encounter.

Diagnostics and Problem Reporting

A basic trace option is provided. Exactly what it does will depend on the nature of any testing I am carrying out from time to time. As a minimum, it will turn on a feature that allows you to hover your mouse pointer over an article title to see the database row number assigned to the article. To turn on tracing, add ?trace=on at the end of the search page URL.

To report problems that you discover in this system, please contact me by clicking on my name in the footnotes below.

Index Sciathericus is an index of articles about sundials and dialing, as published in The Compendium, journal of the North American Sundial Society, and the Bulletin of the British Sundial Society (and, I hope, others to come). For a thorough search of peer-reviewed journals and other recognized sources of scholarly literature, try also Google Scholar or Microsoft Academic; for general material and web pages, use your favorite search engine.

In most cases, Index Sciathericus does not offer online access to the articles themselves. A clickable 💾 icon is shown if an article can be downloaded from here, and a clickable 🔗 icon is used for a link to the article on another website; in any other case, refer to your subscription copy of the publication or contact the publisher to purchase it.

The only thing sent to the server when you use this page is your search request. Neither Index Sciathericus nor Steve Lelievre's website,, gather information about your visits or activity on the site.

The index database and website are provided by Steve Lelievre. NASS' and BSS' assistance is gratefully acknowledged. Brian Albinson contributed to the preparation of article metadata. Brian Albinson, Bob Kellogg, Frank King, Mark Montgomery, Fred Sawyer, and John Schilke have provided helpful general advice.

Index Sciathericus has been used for 1084 article searches since it was launched in November 2020.

© Index Sciathericus and its web interface are copyright of Steve Lelievre, 2019-2024. Article copyright remains with the publishers and authors.