Military Policy Research
User Guide
Section 1. Access for Non-Subscribers (free)
Section 2. Login
Section 3. How to Subscribe
Section 4. Changing the User Details
Section 5. Using Advanced Search
Section 6. Using the Archive
Section 7. Exploiting the Indexes
Appendix 1. Overview of LI Database Structure and Contents
Appendix 2a. The LI Category Index (in order of code)
Appendix 2b. The LI Category Index (in order of topic)

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Section 7: Exploiting the Indexes
7.1 The Indexes Available:

Each citation may contain one or more entries in any or each of the following indexes:

  • Global
  • Author
  • Category Code
  • Keyword
  • Geographical
  • Organization
  • Source/Year
  • Title Words

The indexes may be searched singly (simple query) or in combination (compound query), as explained in Section 4.2 above.

7.2 Notes on Compilation Practice:

The compilation of LI has required constant minor decisions as to what indexing conventions to use, in order to try and maintain consistency across the database. For example, it might seem obvious that an item on heroism should have that word as a Keyword index entry - but the next item in this topic area might be about bravery, and the user might in any case be trying to locate material by searching on courage or gallantry. Such problems of judgement, which reflect an unavoidable subjectivity in a field where ambiguities and overlaps abound, can be found at many points in LI, and the purpose of this section is to inform the user how some of them have been approached with respect to each index.

The general practice in writing summary text or comment has been to use English spelling. However, when quotations have been taken from US sources, they have been left with US spellings intact, as written. Quotations from foreign-language sources have nearly always been translated.

7.3 Author Index:

Entries comprise last name and initials separated by a single space. Initials are given exactly as indicated by the first name(s) as published, thus ‘Bill Sweetman’ is indexed as ‘SWEETMAN B’, and ‘Tony Preston’ as ‘PRESTON T’. LI has been designed for an international user base, and not everyone might know that ‘Tony’ was a diminutive of ‘Anthony’. Indeed, it might not be a diminutive at all, but the actual given name.

Apologies are due to authors whose family and given names have been transposed, but it is not always easy to determine the correct order - sometimes an article is published as signed by ‘Singh Bilveer’, sometimes by ‘Bilveer Singh’. Maybe they are different people. Authors whose names have been incorrectly entered are invited to email LI at mail@mpr.co.uk so that errors can be corrected.

Author index entries can also include the names of individuals whose work constitutes the principal subject under discussion (as in a review article), or who have joined in a debate over a particular item, usually in the correspondence columns of the source publication involved.

The phrase ‘as published’ underlined at the start of this sub-section is important. For example, it means that items by Christopher Donnelly will be indexed under ‘Donnelly C’, and that a search on this index value may thus yield material by Gen Charles Donnelly USAF. It also means that an article signed by Mr Donnelly as ‘Christopher N Donnelly’ will be indexed under ‘Donnelly CN’, and would not be found by a search on ‘Donnelly C’, unless you used the ‘Starting with’ (stem-searching) comparison operator already discussed.

Note: this example illustrates an important principle in using the LI search engine efficiently - never be unnecessarily specific. In this case, it is more efficient to search loosely on ‘Donnelly C’ (using the stem-search facility) and accept the risk of collecting material by other writers having that name and initial, and which may not be germane to your enquiry, than to search tightly on ‘Donnelly CN’ and miss a useful article which he chose to sign without using his middle initial.

7.4 The Category Codes Index:

Each citation has one or more category code values to indicate its subject matter, and will often have more than one. Each value is indexed in the Category Codes index, which is used to retrieve records by subject category. A citation can have as many category code index values as may be appropriate to the contents of the full-text original document. No “either/or” rule is applied - if an item could be indexed under either of two categories, it gets indexed under both.

The Category Codes Index has a tree structure, with sub-categories and sub-sub-categories. Only the lowest-level category codes are used as index values in citations. Thus, for example, there is no record in the database with the category index value “A5” (arms control) - all arms control material will carry one or more of the lowest-level sub-categories, i.e. A5.1 (inventory levels), A5.2 (verification and compliance) or A5.3 (counter-proliferation). If you need to retrieve any A5 material irrespective of sub-category, you will need to use the “starting with” stem-searching facility already described in Section 2 “Searching the Database”.

Category codes are the primary tool in searching the database for relevant material. Once you become familiar with LI, you will be able to recognize category codes (and hence the subject scope of a specific record) at a glance. Until that stage of familiarity is reached, however, the codes will naturally be obscure, and you will find it necessary to consult the Category Codes Index listings provided in Appendix 2 below. The listings are in two parts - in order of category code, and order of descriptive text.

The category code structure is the most powerful tool in the search engine for exploiting the LI database, and information professionals will find that a few minutes spent on studying it, so as to understand “what has been placed where”, will be repaid an hundred-fold in terms of research productivity gained through improved search precision.

7.5 The Keyword Index:

LI maintains an index of words or phrases, which can be used to locate material according to topic. It is more narrowly focused than the Category Codes Index, which deals with general subject areas. For example, an item might carry the category code value “J13.1” (fixed wing aircraft) and the keyword value “F-16”.

This variability of focus is useful in designing a query to obtain a desired degree of search precision. For example, a search on “Geographical Index equal to ‘TAIWAN’ and Category Codes Index equal to ‘J13.1’” yields a general view of that country’s fixed-wing combat aircraft inventory, while “Geographical Index equal to ‘TAIWAN’ and Keywords Index equal to “F-16” yield a more specific view of particular aircraft type.

The Keywords Index is used for most proper names other than those of countries/regions (for which the Geographical Index is used) and of organizations (for which the Organization Index is used). It is also used to cover historical events and personages, as well as topics. Operations, battles and exercises are given by their names alone - e.g. DESERT STORM, DIEN BIEN PHU, ROVING SANDS. There is fertile ground for inconsistencies, some of which have defeated resolution. Should Dien Bien Phu, being a place, not be in the Geographical index? Or should material on the Manchurian campaign be indexed in the Geographical index under MANCHURIA? When in doubt, search both, or use the Global Index.

In respect of the Keywords Index, two further aspects of compilation practice should be noted.

  • Whenever a keyword phrase is commonly referred to by an acronym, it is likely that the acronym that has been indexed; thus ‘RMA’ has been used in preference to ‘REVOLUTION IN MILITARY AFFAIRS’. On the other hand, ‘CLOSE AIR SUPPORT’ has been used in preference to ‘CAS’. No consistent rule has appeared to be sensible under all circumstances, however. While every effort is made during LI’s compilation to stick to a particular choice, it has proved impossible to devise a universal criterion for choosing whether to index the acronym or the full expression. If the user cannot find an acronym in the Keyword Index, the unabbreviated search term should thus be checked as well.
  • As a general rule, the singular has been preferred to the plural, e.g. ‘MILITARY BASE’. There are exceptions, whenever the topic is naturally expressed by the plural word, e.g. ‘WOMEN’, ‘KURDS’, HUMAN RIGHTS’ or ‘CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS’.

7.6 The Geographical Index:

This is used to locate material by specific country or area; it does not go down to district or city level, so that places such as CHINA LAKE or NURRUNGAR are indexed using the Keywords Index. Again, there will be grey areas - is DIEGO GARCIA a military base (keyword) or an island (geographical)? In such cases, the safest solution is to search both indexes, or use the Global index.

Post-partition Korean material is indexed on either ‘KOREA N’ or ‘KOREA S’ (or both), and ‘PACIFIC’ has a variety of suffixes. ‘GERMANY’ is used only for the country pre-1946 -- otherwise ‘FRG’ (or, before 1989, ‘GDR’) has been used; likewise, ‘RUSSIA’ has been used for the pre- and post-Soviet state. Partly as a consequence of the construction of this Index having started in 1983, there are relatively few geographical index entries for ‘USA’ or ‘USSR’, as almost 90% of the literature at that time would have required one or other of them. Instead, the regional suffix ‘.02’ (North America) and ‘.09’ (Eastern Europe & Eurasia) have been taken as sufficient, with “USA” and “USSR” only provided where regional suffixes are absent.

7.7 The Organization Index:

This index identifies material relating to specific organizations, such as a particular agency or manufacturing company, e.g. ‘CIA’, ‘DERA’ or ‘BOEING’.

7.8 Source/Year Index:

This index enables you to retrieve material from a particular source publication and, if desired, from a particular year of publication. The values in this index consist of a source publication search code separated by a single space from the year of publication, e.g. ‘MCG 1993’ or ‘BAR 1995’.

As you become familiar with LI, you will increasingly be able to remember the search codes that you need. With many of them the search code is obvious enough, e.g. MCG for the Marine Corps Gazette, or BAR for the British Army Review. Some are not so obvious however (particularly where two journals compete for the same initials, such as Strategic Analysis and Scientific American, or Adelphi Papers and Asian Perspective). In such cases, you should consult the relevant data page in the Archive, where the search code for each source publication is specified.

Example: Suppose you wish to search for material in the US Army War College journal Parameters, but do not know the search code used by LI for this publication. Click on Archive/P/Parameters, and you will see that it is ‘PARMS’.

Please note that the all the values in this index comprise the search code followed by the year of publication, and that a search on “Source/Year exactly matching ‘PARMS’” by itself would thus yield a null view.

If you want any material from a journal source, irrespective of year of publication (for example, in finding material on leadership in the Marine Corps Gazette), then you need to use the stem-searching technique already described, by choosing the “Starting with” comparison operator.

Note: when using the ‘Starting with’ option to retrieve material from a particular journal, type a space after the Search Code before clicking on ‘Add’ - otherwise, for example, a search on “Source/Year starting with ‘SC’” (Strategic Comments) might include material from SCIAM (Scientific American); in this case, the correct search term should be “Starting with SC<space>”.

7.9 Title Words Index:

This index is used to retrieve citations where the specified word exists in the document title.

7.10 Global Index:

This indexes individual words not only all in the fields covered by the specialist indexes already discussed, but also the text of all abstracts.

You may reasonably ask, why use the specialist indexes at all, if the Global Index indexes everything? There are two points to bear in mind here:

  • The advantage of comprehensiveness is sometimes negated by the disadvantage of over-inclusion. For example, if you are trying to locate material on the importance of an understanding of geography in military and strategic analysis, a search on “geography” in the Global Index will retrieve over 150 items where the author is identified as belonging to the department of geography of some university or other. In this case, it is far more efficient to use the Keywords index to retrieve the 15 or more items which specifically address the science of geography as a military topic.
  • The global index only indexes individual words, whereas the specialist indexes index whole phrases. Thus a search for material on “war powers” in the Global Index might return a mass of material dealing with the risks of war between regional or global powers, whereas a search of the Keywords Index will retrieve material dealing with the US constitutional issues raised by the War Powers Act.

7.11 Examples of Index Combinations in Compound Queries:

LI’s index structure allows you to search the database with a variable degree of precision, ranging from a general trawl through broadly-defined topics to a search for quite specific combinations of index values.

The following examples may help illustrate the immense range of possibilities for defining your own views of the database through appropriate index combination. The best way to achieve easy mastery of the Search Engine is to practice constructing and executing these searches, along with others of your own invention.

  • “French intelligence in the inter-war period” (Category Code equal to P4.1 and Category Code starting with D and Geographical equal to FRANCE)
  • “Terrorism and the media” (Category Code equal to A7.1 and Category Code equal to M2)
  • “Swiss defence policy” (Category Code equal to A2.01 and Geographical equal to SWITZERLAND)
  • “Marine Corps Gazette material on leadership” (Source/Year starting with MCG and Category Code equal to G2)
  • “Anything on North Korean nuclear policy by Albright” (Author starting with Albright and Category Code equal to A6.1 and Geographical equal to KOREA N)
  • “Iraqi missile technology” (Category Code starting with J01 and Geographical equal to IRAQ)
  • “Anything by Ralph Peters on the RMA” (Author starting with Peters R and Keywords equal to RMA)

The combinatorial possibilities are limited only by your knowledge and imagination. The greater your familiarity with the subject matter, the better your ability to construct the search statements to retrieve what you need.

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