Skip to main content
SearchLoginLogin or Signup

Contributing Content to the ADS

The ADS is continually adding to its corpus of literature. Librarians have always supported ADS by contributing sources to ADS. We discuss what sources ADS uses, what we still need, and how you can contribute.

Published onApr 27, 2022
Contributing Content to the ADS


The world of scientific literature is changing all the time. ADS receives information from various sources on a daily basis and ingests this content into its bibliographic collection. Much of the literature is not being published in traditional journals and the ADS includes these items also. In our quest for our content to be as complete as possible, we rely on the astronomy community, and in particular the astronomy library community, to keep us aware of new sources of scholarly content. We will share our current list of sources and include ideas for our community to contribute to and to enhance the ADS collection.

Content Ingestion at ADS

ADS hosts more than 16 million records in astronomy and physics and we obtain these records from a variety of sources by various methods. We aim to be as comprehensive in the field as possible to allow easy access to scientific literature to researchers and other users of our database. The ADS maintains and pursues relationships with publishers, both large and small, within our subject disciplines. We have scanned books, journals and observatory publications which we host in the ADS database. Additional primary sources include arXiv (, which we ingest on a nightly basis and CrossRef (, which we index on a weekly basis. Since many publishers deposit their metadata to CrossRef, this allows us an easy way to incorporate references and link across platforms. In addition we regularly receive submissions from our user community. And even with all of these resources we still do not have complete coverage.

What content is missing from ADS?

While we do have excellent coverage of the journal literature in the ADS we are aware that we could improve our coverage of other literature sources with the help of the astronomy community. The ADS has always relied upon librarians and other data providers to assist us in completing our coverage. In the early days of the ADS, several librarians from universities around the world would send us their new acquisitions lists and tables of content for journals and conferences. The ADS staff would then review the content to reduce duplicate entries and this information was sent out to a vendor to be transcribed and formatted for inclusion in the system. Now since our communication tools have changed and the proliferation of literature continues, we would like to leverage the power of the community again in helping us to improve our collection.

Specifically we know that we need different sources and easier ways to incorporate the information into the ADS. In order to better serve the astronomical community, the ADS would like to ask for help and resources to improve our collections of PhD theses, conference proceedings, and other grey literature.

In the next sections I will detail our current sources and list some suggestions on how one can contribute content to the ADS.

PhD Theses

The ADS receives regular metadata listings from ProQuest where many U.S. universities deposit their PhD theses. In the past few years many universities have stopped submitting the PhD theses to vendors and have opted to deposit the volumes in institutional repositories.

Some institutions periodically send us their recent PhD theses directly and we are happy to receive these and will work with individual librarians to make the submission process easy. In addition, there are several other options to add theses to our database:

Figure 1. Diagram of content sources included in the ADS

  • Zenodo Astronomy Thesis collection: This is an open-source repository of astronomy theses and dissertations which is automatically ingested into ADS roughly once a month.

  • ADS submission: You can submit the metadata for an individual thesis directly to ADS for indexing by using the Submit Update form found in the Feedback link on most ADS search pages.

We are particularly interested in open source or easily harvestable lists. If you know of any sources for this information please contact us at [email protected].


We currently receive conference metadata from societies, from publishers, from conference organizers and from authors. In addition, we monitor new publication lists and the Astronomy Meetings List maintained by the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC) of NRC ( and the meetings list at the American Astronomical Society ( We aren’t complete in coverage because:

  • not all conferences are published

  • not all conferences use publishers, who provide us with appropriate metadata

  • not all published conferences are identified as conferences in the metadata

  • not all urls are persistent

  • not all conferences are advertised

Figure 2. Feedback form to submit PhD thesis to the ADS.

In short, if we aren’t aware of them, we can’t add them to our collection. If your institution hosts astronomy or physics conferences please let us know and send us information on how to link to conference proceedings or talks. If you are aware of a conference that you think should be in ADS but isn’t please contact us at [email protected]. We can easily harvest conference information from Zenodo so considering starting a community there and letting ADS know when you’ve updated it.

Grey literature

The ADS hosts a large collection of historical observatory reports and publications. This collection was made possible by a collaborative effort by several different libraries. The curation of this collection was supported by volunteers and ADS staff. Much of this literature would not be available to the astronomical community as it was not always published. ADS would like to add to our collection those items such as reports, letters and papers that are not easily located. If you have any suggestions for sources of the grey literature of astronomy please contact us.

Bibliographic groups

This section contains information on the bibliographic groups (bibgroups) that are searchable within ADS. Bibgroups are bibliographies that are regularly curated by members of the astronomy community. The ADS has had bibgroups for quite a number of years but in the past we were limited to the number of bibgroups and now with the most recent updates to the ADS system, we no longer need to limit the number. We are currently updating our requirements for bibgroups. We expect to have at least four types of bibgroups: telescope, institutional, topical and archival. In order for a bibgroup to be indexed in ADS, we require a description of the criteria used for its curation and to be able to make some of this information available to other users of ADS. Since the bibliographical information in bibgroups is sometimes used for comparative studies it is essential to provide this level of transparency.

The ADS offers many tools to aid you in the curation of your bibliographies. We offer affiliation search, ORCiD claiming, full text searching and the ability to create your own libraries within ADS (which can be for your own private use or publicly available.) If you currently maintain a bibgroup for the ADS we will be in touch with you. If you are interested in adding your curated collection to the ADS please contact us.

In addition to the actively curated bibgroups, the ADS is hosting a number of legacy (no longer maintained) bibgroups, although these are no longer searchable. Since we feel that these legacy bibgroups can still be useful, we have transferred their contents to public ADS libraries. The list below names the bibgroup and describes the contents of each legacy bibgroup.

  • LPI: Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) bibliography, from approximately 1975 to 1996

  • UKIRT: Papers published in refereed journals that contain data from observations at the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii (1988-2013)

  • VSGC: Papers about variable stars in globular clusters (1934-1996)

  • ROSAT: Articles about ROSAT experiments and/or ROSAT data (1981-2005)

  • ARI: Papers written by researchers at the Astronomisches Rechen-Institut at the University of Heidelberg (1924-1998)

  • ISO: Articles pertaining to the Infrared Space Observatory (1996-2011)

These legacy bibgroups can be accessed through the ADS website at


The ADS maintains a database for the astronomy, physics, astrophysics and related communities. The ADS collection is diverse and comprehensive thanks to the cooperation of many agencies, publishers, scientists and librarians. We are continuously updating our collections and are actively seeking contributions in several areas where we are lacking. We encourage submissions from members of the Library and Information Services (LISA) community especially in the areas of PhD theses, conference proceedings and grey literature. Your contributions are valued by the astronomy community. Please contact us at [email protected] with any questions.

No comments here