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How do I find articles by a particular author?

Every database and index offers a way to search for works written by a particular author. Usually it's a fairly straightforward process. The database should either have an input box marked "author", or a generic input box and a way to limit the search to the "author" field.

Most modern scientific articles have multiple authors - sometimes a whole lot of them - and all get equal billing in index databases. Accepted practice dictates that the first listed author is the one who did most of the work and gets most of the credit; other authors are listed in declining order of contribution. In academic labs, the last author position is usually reserved for the supervising professor who has the grants and runs the lab.

What's in a Name?

Searching author names can sometimes be tricky. Common surnames (like Smith, Wang, or Lee) are a real problem -- you will probably retrieve results by many different individuals who share the same name and initials. Compound names and Asian names may be treated differently in various databases, so you have to be careful to allow for the name conventions in a specific database. Some authors don't even use a consistent form of their own name! On some papers they may use only initials, on others a first name and initial. As a general rule, start with initials and don't use a first name unless you have to distinguish among many authors with the same name.

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