Since August, Miami University has subscribed to InfoEd’s SPIN Global Suite, a database of sponsored funding opportunities. This is the second in a series of posts (the first is here) designed to help Miami University faculty, staff, and students learn to use SPIN to find potential sources of funding for their research, scholarly, and creative projects.
You do not need a profile to conduct searches in SPIN. All Miami faculty, staff, and students have access to SPIN’s search functions while they are on campus or connected to Miami’s VPN. You will need a profile if you want to save your searches and if you want to receive automated emails alerting you to opportunities relevant to your saved searches. For more about accessing SPIN and creating a profile, read this post.
SPIN has three types of searches — basic, keyword, and advanced. The basic search interface is displayed by default when you first access SPIN. The keyword and advanced search interfaces can be accessed by hovering over Search in the black menu ribbon near the top of the screen and selecting the desired interface.
Basic search works just like searching for something on Google or another search engine.
Simply type in your search terms and then click the blue Locate Funding button to the right of the search box.
You can use operators to help ensure your search returns more relevant results. The following “Basic Search Help” information can be found by hovering over Help in the black menu ribbon near the top of the screen:
This version of SPIN Search integrates with a modern full-text search engine. It is designed to allow you to perform as simple or as complex of a search as you would like to. Searches are carried out against the entire text of the SPIN programs; this includes opportunity titles, sponsor names, synopses, objectives, as well as funding opportunity numbers, email addresses, keywords, and several other fields.
The search automatically invokes inflectional forms of the entered words. For example, a search for test will scan all SPIN programs for: test, tests, tested, and testing. This can be disabled by inserting a plus sign (+) before the search term, as shown below.
The search also has the ability pass the entered terms through an integrated thesaurus, potentially expanding the terms being searched for. For example, a search for cancer will scan all SPIN programs for: cancer, carcinogens, chemotherapy, tumors, oncology, and other terms. This can be invoked for all terms entered by simply enabling the Find Similar Terms checkbox, or by inserting a ‘~’ before each individual term you want passed through the thesaurus. Note that enabling the Find Similar Terms checkbox will not expand quoted strings (e.g. “search term”) via the thesaurus by default. You must insert a ~ before the quoted string, as shown below.
The search also contains a number of capabilities to build complex searches with various logic and grammar parsing. The commands can be combined together, along with parenthetical logic to dictate the order of operations, for building complex queries defining exactly what you are looking for.
||Searches for records containing ‘scientific’ and ‘research’ or their inflectional forms.
|Scientific OR research
||Searches for records containing ‘scientific’ or ‘research’ or their inflectional forms.
||Wrapping terms in double quotes searches for records containing the phrase ‘scientific research.’
||Inserting a minus symbol before a term searches for records containing ‘scientific’ and not ‘research.’
||Inserting a plus symbol before a term performs search after disabling expansion for inflectional forms.
||Wrapping terms in angled brackets searches for records containing ‘scientific’ and ‘research’ and ranks results by the proximity of the two.
||Inserting a tilde searches for records containing ‘scientific’ or its related terms in the thesaurus, and ‘research.’
||Inserting a tilde before a quoted phrase searches for records containing the phrase ‘scientific research’ or its related terms in the thesaurus.
A major advantage to using the keyword search is that you can be sure you are searching for records using the same vocabulary that InfoEd staff use when they catalog the records. That’s because you will select the terms from a pick list provided within SPIN.
To access, keyword search, hover over Search in the black menu ribbon and select InfoEd Keyword Search from the drop-down menu.
Next, click the Select Keywords link above the search box.
In the resulting pop-up window, you will see two columns — “Available Keywords” on the left and “Chosen Keywords” on the right.
Click on the + next to each field keyword to expand it to display keywords for sub-fields.
To add a keyword to your search, do one of the following:
- Select the keyword in the left column and then click the → between the columns or
- Drag the keyword from the left column and drop it in the right.
To remove a keyword from the “Chosen Keywords” column, select it and click the ← between the columns. To clear all of the keywords from the “Chosen Keywords” column, click the << between the columns.
When all the desired keywords are in the “Chosen Keywords” column, click the blue Save Selections and Continue button in the lower right of the pop-up window.
The pop-up window will close and your chosen keywords will be automatically populated into the search box. Be sure the correct operator is selected (“AND” searches for only those records that contain all of the chosen keywords; “OR” searches for records that contain at least one of the selected keywords). Finally, click the blue Locate Funding button to display the search results.
Advanced search is the most flexible search option, but it is probably the least intuitive.
To access, advanced search, hover over Search in the black menu ribbon and select Advanced Search from the drop-down menu.
Advanced search works by using expressions and groups. To add an expression, click the green + icon in the gold box.
By default you will be searching the full program, but if you want to search a specific part of the record, you can click on Full Program and select a field from the drop-down menu. The logic of the expression will change to be consistent with the record field selected. For instance, when “Full Program” is selected the logic is “Contains”/”Does Not Contain.” When “Deadlines” is selected the logic is “Equal To”/”Greater Than”/”Greater Than or Equal To”/”Less Than”/”Less Than or Equal To”/”Not Equal To.” You can toggle between these options by clicking on the default logic and then selecting the desired logic from the drop-down menu.
Enter your search terms in the box next to “Contains.” With some record fields (e.g., “Sponsor”), SPIN will try to guess what you’re looking for and offer suggestions in a drop-down menu. To select an item in the drop-down menu, click it. To select an item not in the drop-down menu, keep typing until the desired item appears in the drop-down menu.
To add a group, click the blue + icon in the gold box. An “AND” operator will be populated by default. To change it to “OR,” click on AND and select OR from the drop-down menu. To add an expression to the newly created group, click the green + icon in the gold box of the group you just added. Continue, adding as many expressions and groups as desired. You can remove an expression or group by clicking on the x in the far right of its box.
Once you have added the desired expressions and groups, click the blue Locate Funding button.
To save searches, you must have a profile and you must be signed in (more here). There are a couple of reasons you might want to save a search:
- So that you can run it again at a later time with a single click.
- So that you receive automated emails alerting you to opportunities that match your search.
Any time you conduct a basic, keyword, or advanced search while you are signed into SPIN, you will see a blue “Save” button to the right of the “Locate Funding” button on the search results page. To save your search, click the Save button, fill in the requested fields and make the desired selections in the resulting pop-up window, and then click the blue Save Changes button.
Note that the pop-up window contains this question: “Would you like to configure SMARTS automation?” SMARTS automation is a function that allows you to automatically receive updates when existing results from this particular search are updated or when new results for this particular search are added. To enable this feature, select HTML or Plain Text from the upper drop-down menu, adjusting the notification frequency in the lower drop-down menu. (This feature can also be enabled and adjusted in the “Funding Alerts” menu.)
Working with saved searches
To view your saved searches, hover over Saved Searches in the black menu ribbon and select Manage Saved Searches. To re-run a saved search, click the > in the “Run” column (far left). • To delete a saved search, click on the X in the “Delete” column (far right). When you’re finished, click the blue Save Changes button.
In the next SPIN post, we’ll show you how to work with records and bookmarks and how to create reports.
Magnifying glass image by Kate Ter Haar via Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.